What you need to know about wedding Photography
No matter what kind of wedding you’re planning, it is almost guaranteed that you are going to want to hire a wedding photographer. Your wedding photos will be one of the few things that you keep over the years. They’ll be displayed in your home, and shared with those closest to you, and one of the best ways to document all of the amazing memories and moments throughout your wedding day.
But hiring a wedding photographer is often not an easy matter. Between different photography styles and the varying cost, what should you really be looking for when you hiring a wedding photographer? Do you really need all those prints and albums? How many hours should you have your photographer onsite for?
This week I had the privilege of interviewing Lindsey Parkin, a fabulous local Edmonton wedding photographer and owner of Lindsey Parkin Photography. Named as one of Narcity’s “18 Wedding Photographers in Edmonton You Need to Check Out ASAP,” Lindsey is dedicated to helping couples who feel they don’t look good in front of the camera.
Tune in as we talk all things wedding photography, with all the details on what you really need to know.
Corina – Hello everybody and welcome. My name is Corina Waldie, and I am the owner and creative director of Your Personal Fairy Tale, and the host of Wedding Wise, a YouTube channel which is devoted to educating couples planning their weddings. Welcome to our third episode. As is previously mentioned, our primary goal is to come to you with education by real wedding pros on a variety of topics related to planning your wedding. This week, we’re going to be exploring a topic that no matter the size, budget, or location of your wedding you’re likely going to want to hire this vendor, and that is of course a wedding photographer. Today I’d like to introduce my good friend Lindsey Parkin. She is a local Edmonton wedding photographer, and the owner of Lindsey Parkin Photography. Welcome Lindsey.
Lindsey – Thanks.
C – Thanks so much for taking the time to join us today. Before we get into our conversation today, about what viewers need to know about hiring a wedding photographer, could you please tell us a little bit about yourself, and your business.
L – Yeah, definitely. I am an Alberta based wedding photographer. I’ve been in business for about, I guess I’m going on about six years now, and I really specialize in photographing couples who feel awkward in front of the camera. So people that really just, they get there and they’re like what do I do with these things? That is my go to. I kind of do things a little bit differently than other photographers to help them feel comfortable in front of the camera, and make sure they get the same photos that they see other people are getting, but they don’t think they’re capable of getting. Making sure they’re comfortable.
C – That’s great, especially for those couples that are so paranoid of getting in front of the camera. Like what do you mean I got to stand and get my picture taken 2,000 times?
L – Totally, yeah. People always say to me, every time my fiance gets in front of the camera he makes this really weird smile.
C – I’ve heard those things before.
L – Yeah, yeah, so that is my specialty.
C – Oh, good. That’s definitely good to know. When somebody goes to hire a photographer, I think out there there is just so many different photographers. You drive down the street and you see photography everywhere it seems, and it’s wedding photography, family photography. Why would somebody want to hire a wedding photographer over a regular photographer, or even just having a friend with a good camera?
L – Yeah, definitely. The biggest thing that I’d say with wedding photography is it’s fast paced. There is not much time to think about your settings on your camera, how to pose people, locations, things like that. Things are thrown at us minute by minute, through a wedding day, and we, our specialty is adapting to that, and so if somebody whose used to photographing in a studio for example, you throw them out there and the sun’s changing, and there’s clouds rolling in, and you’re going from indoors to outdoors, things like that, you’re guaranteed to have photos that are missed, moments that are missed, that type of thing. So wedding photographers, we’ve kind of honed our skills to be able to be really adaptable, and flexible in a situation, and the other thing I find with wedding photographers is most of us have been in the business for awhile, have a really good sense of being able to keep the day going, manage time, that type of thing. We don’t usually sit back and wait for others to tell us when things need to happen. We help the couple make sure that things happen in a really efficient manner, that stuff will get done.
C – I can definitely speak to it as a wedding planner, and especially for those couples who choose not to have a wedding planner, I think sometimes driving the timeline and that schedule seems to fall on a photographer, so you want somebody, especially if you’re not hiring a wedding planner in any capacity, to be on site, who knows what they’re doing with that particularly.
L – Yeah, absolutely. Otherwise I find that the day kind of drags on a little bit and there’s things that maybe take longer than they need to and that type of thing.
C – Absolutely. When we talk about wedding photographer, what should a couple look for beyond just budget, when they’re hiring a wedding photographer?
L – The biggest thing I like to say is find somebody that you’re comfortable with. We spend your whole wedding day with you. Lots of times from right when you get up in the morning till after the party’s started, and things are getting a little crazy and that. We’re with you the whole time, so you want to make sure you’re comfortable with us. You want to make sure that your guests and your bridal party and your family and everybody will be comfortable with us as well because there’s nothing worse than someone tagging along for the whole wedding day and you feeling like you don’t really want to be around them. That is one of the biggest things. Another thing I would suggest is make sure you’ve seen a full wedding or two from the photographer. On our social media and our websites, we have a highlight reel. We take our best photos, the stuff we’re most proud of, and we put that up there.
But there are going to be other photos that you’re going to want from the day, beyond the beautiful scene, and the couple in the scene and stuff. Those moments, parents are handing you off at the altar and all those sorts of things. Make sure that you see what that photographer produces this frequently and make sure you’re happy with it before signing on the dotted line.
C – Absolutely, and is there different styles of photography when it comes to weddings, because I’ve heard words like photo journalism and I’ve heard natural, and I think people, it applies to different people. How does that really apply to a wedding photographer?
L – Definitely. So there’s lots of different styles. There’s dark and moody. There’s light and airy. There’s photojournalism. There’s more candid pose. There’s lots of different options there. For myself, I do a variety of those throughout the day. Usually in the morning, during the getting ready phase, it’s a lot more photo journalism. Just letting things unfold, and me capturing them, and kind of moving them around that way. During the ceremony obviously I’m capturing things. I might give some advice prior, but make sure that your bridal party is symmetrical, things like that, but during the ceremony, I’m not really dictating much. Family photos, I jump to the completely opposite end of the spectrum. I am driving things. I have a list of photos we’re going to go through, and I make sure that we’re going to each of them and that things are moving efficiently. It’s completely different.
C – It’s more those typical posed. The have value because you’ll want them for your album but they’re not the artistic stuff.
L – Totally, and then usually either before the ceremony or afterwards we’ll go and do photos of the bridal party and the couple themselves and I use a little bit of both there. I’ll use a little bit more of the camera area of things, and the I’ll just do cool stuff. I’ll do action stuff, where I tell you to do fun things, and whisper something in his ear, make him laugh. That type of stuff, and then usually back to the reception. Again, it’s like photo journalism. I’m moving lights around, and I’m using my assistant to make sure that things are lit properly, but I’m not dictating how things are flowing and who’s doing what and that type of stuff, and then in terms of the actual editing style, I tend to err to more of the side of what was in front of me. Dark and moody, I love it. There’s other areas that completely and totally love it, but I believe for myself that it is a phase, and I don’t want my couples to look back at their photos in 20 years and go, why can’t I see anything? It’s dark, and same thing with light and airy. I try to stick more to the middle when it comes to editing. That timeless kind of look, but it’s something that a couple has to be completely comfortable with, what they’re going to have for the rest of their lives.
C – Absolutely. It’s kind of really one of the only things most couples keep around, is the photos, so there’s a lot of pressure on you for sure.
You kind of touched on photos before and afterward, so one of the things that a lot of couples now are doing, just from a timeline perspective, is to do a first glance photo, because times passed, there was the whole adage, traditionally, that you don’t see your groom or your partner until ceremony, but a lot of couples have been moving away because that really cuts into timeline after ceremony for cocktail hour and reception. What is the benefit? Like I know for me as a planner, they’re actually after my favorite photos of all of the photos that come back, but why would somebody want to consider that over the more traditional options?
L – Yeah, so first look for me, there’s a couple reasons I’m going to put people that way. One is, often the groom-to-be will say to me or say to his bride to be in front of me, that he doesn’t want to tear up at the altar. He doesn’t want to be embarrassed. All those sorts of things, and so in that case, first look is a great option. If the bride thinks that she’s going to bawl her eyes out, and she might need the retouching of makeup and that, a first look is an awesome, awesome option. Same thing for me. The photos from first looks, are usually my favorite of the day. They’re just raw emotion. There’s no worrying about whose watching you other than this creepy lady with a camera in the background.
C – Or your creepy wedding planner.
L – But yeah, it’s just authentic and real, and the other thing is that I can kind of stage it. So something in photography we’re looking for, is what’s the light doing? If your ceremony’s in the middle of a field, and it’s a bright sunny day, the light is really not that flattering, whereas for a first look I can put them in some open shade and make sure that those photos are going to be absolutely beautiful and the best that they can possibly be.
Timeline’s a huge one for me as well. I love a first look, and some bridal party photos before the wedding, because it just, as soon as the wedding happens, we start to go right into family photos and then into reception, and it just things move along, but then for some people, they’re a little more traditional. They don’t want to see each other before the wedding and things like that. So it depends on what’s best for them.
C – Absolutely, and there’s also the benefit too, I think for couples that when they do the first look they get to spend more time with their guests, because that cocktail hour is a great opportunity to be a little bit more casual with your guests, especially if you’re having a smaller wedding, or you’re not doing a formal receiving line and that gives you that time to not be so overwhelmed by the number of people. That’s another benefit that I can speak of from the planner’s perspective.
L – Yeah, absolutely. I photographed a wedding recently and they had a lot of guests that came from overseas, so it was really important to them to spend as much time as possible at that reception with those people, because their time was limited.
In that case, we did a first look, and we did their photos prior to the wedding ceremony and it was a really good fit for their day.
C – All right. Let’s talk hours. You pull up different packages, and some photographers say all day. Some say eight hours, six hours, 10 hours. Not too many couples, especially when they’re booking a photographer, which is really early on in their planning process before a lot of things have been determined, what should a couple be thinking about?
L – That’s a really good question. The biggest thing I tell every single client who inquires with me, is I will not book you as a client until you have an idea what your timeline looks like, because I have people come to me and say, we need 14 hours of coverage, and I think in the back of my head, I doubt you actually do. I doubt that that’s the time that you actually need, and so I’ll help them build up a timeline or I’ll talk to their planner, and we’ll figure out the timeline and stuff, and actually they need eight hours of coverage, because here’s the thing. When I was first starting out I would do a full day, and I would show up when the girls were getting ready and someone was doing makeup, someone was doing hair, and it was a two or three hour process before everyone had their hair and makeup done. I’m taking photos of someone with this beautiful updo and like half a face of makeup on. You’re not going to frame that photo. You’re not going to do anything with it, or vice versa. Makeup’s just looking fabulous, and the hair is still in a bun on top of their head, waiting for that. Getting ready photos for example, if those moments during the getting ready are really important to you, yeah, we should absolutely capture that, but if you’re just more looking to have a few photos of the getting ready, we can pretend the makeup’s being put on and things like that once I arrive. I work with my couples to make sure that I capture what’s important to them, and then we build our package to fit that. I do offer collections, but I often end up tailoring them because a collection’s really hard to make everyone fit into, whereas I can say actually you need seven hours of coverage, or you need 11, or that type of thing.
Travel, travel on a wedding day can eat up your time by a ton, and so if there’s a ton of travel, even if it’s half an hour. Half an hour from the hotel to the ceremony location and another half an hour to the formal location, and another half an hour to the reception, that’s two hours if I do the math right. Two hours. Two hours of your day eaten up by travel and so your eight-hour package, which sounds like a great idea but maybe you need more like 10 if there’s a lot of travel. Those are the biggest factors for me that go into figuring out a timeline and how much coverage they actually need.
The other thing I find lots of my couples or clients will do is in my packages, one package might have an engagement session. One might not. Those sorts of things start to factor into decisions as well and sometimes the 10 hour package, maybe they don’t quite need 10 hours, but they want everything else that comes with the 10 hour package, so we’ll go that way. It kind of depends on the whole bit.
C – Actually you made a good point in terms of engagement photos. I’ve had some couples do them. I’ve had some couples not. Do you recommend that a couple gets engagement photos?
L – Okay. I have a couple thoughts on that. First and foremost, I think any time you can get in front of your photographer’s camera, before your wedding, it’s a good thing, because the worst possible thing that happens, is I come to your wedding, photograph you for the first time, and you get your photos back and you go, that’s not what we were looking for, or that felt really uncomfortable, or that type of thing. Luckily, I don’t have that happen very often, or at all, but I don’t want that to happen, and so often I’ll say if anybody is unsure about being in front of the camera, you should absolutely get an engagement session done. A couple things that happen in engagement session that can’t happen in a wedding is flexibility. During a wedding, there’s a plan. You only have a certain amount of hours in that day and things have to happen. Whereas an engagement session I can take time to make sure that it’s comfortable for you and things like that and I can really bring down those walls that you might have about being photographed. Try to fly here. Your outfits in engagement session and a wedding are completely different. In a wedding you have a bouquet. I can give your hand a job, hands a job, with a bouquet, whereas in your engagement session, usually you don’t have something in your hand. Things like that. An engagement session, it’s a really nice way to figure out a flow of things well before your wedding. Just had a brilliant thought and it left my head.
C – Happens to me all the time.
L – Where was I going with that? Oh, when I deliver an engagement session to my clients, I give them instructions. Tell me which photos they love and which ones they hate, because there are going to be photos. I see you differently than you see yourself, and that sort of thing. There are going to be photos maybe the angle you don’t like of yourself. I don’t know that, so I present their images to them and then I get them to give me feedback so that when it comes to a wedding day, I can make sure that I’m giving them the ones that they’re going to like and not doing the ones they’re not going to like.
C – No, I think you make definitely a number of great points, and I can also speak from the planning perspective that engagement photos, outside of everything that you also said, they’re quite handy for doing your wedding website and pronouncing your engagement and doing in those sorts of different things, but there’s also, I actually have a story of a family member actually who did some engagement photos, hated them, went with the photographer anyway and sadly, it was, they went against the advice of everybody else in the family, kept this photographer. One of the things I tell my clients when it comes to engagement photos, is kind of like trialing the photographer.
L – It’s a test drive.
C – It’s a test drive, because if you absolutely hate what they do for you then you still have that opportunity to change photographers. Your wedding day is only a one time dealio. You do not want to risk, having somebody whose not going to capture them, especially when you’re investing thousands upon thousands of dollars in making that day happen.
L – Yeah absolutely. I always tell my clients when I first meet with them, the worst possible thing that could happen, is you hire me and then you don’t like the photos. I would rather you tell me we’re not a fit. I’m okay with that. You only get married once, usually.
C – I believe. Fingers crossed.
L – I tell that person, you usually only get married once, and it’s an important day, and I would hate to be a part of your day and my job to be to capture that day and you not like your photos. I’d much rather you find a photographer that’s the right fit for you, so yeah.
C – Absolutely. You also mentioned that you have an assistant or the other term that’s thrown out there, second shooter. Some photographers work with them. Some photographers outfit them as an add on. What is the value of having a second shooter?
L – Yeah definitely. I’ll preface in that in saying, for me I have sometimes second shooters and sometimes I have assistants that do two different roles for me, and sometimes I’ll have second shooter that shifts to an assistant part way through the day. Let’s say at reception. Their job then is to hold lights and grab lenses and that type of thing. Second shooter is another photographer photographing at the same time that I am. A couple benefits of a second shooter. It’s two views of the same thing happening. First look, I can get photos of the groom’s reaction, while my second shooter gets photos of the bride’s reaction. Whereas if it’s just me, there’s going to be a gap in what I’m capturing. Not too much, but there’s going to be some. Timeline’s another huge one. During formal photos, family formals for example, if it’s just me, I don’t have an assistant or a second shooter, I’m grabbing the list. I’m reading whose in the next family grouping for the next photo, and then I’m trying to get them in there. If I have a second shooter with me, their job is to make sure they are standing right beside me ready to go in and it tightens up that timeline really nicely, and family photos can go one of two ways, I find. They can be slick well oiled machine, or they can be brutal. Auntie Karen just took off to the car. We’re waiting on her and those sorts of things. I often think of my second shooter as a bit of a wrangler. They make sure that the people are there, so nobody’s getting frustrated. We make sure this thing happens really quickly. That’s kind of one of the other benefits of the second shooter.
C – Absolutely. It’s actually for that reason, in my packages for wedding planning, wedding planning and design, I actually bring on a third assistant and they are sort of like, I jokingly call them the lady in waiting, where they get to help the couple throughout the day, but I make sure they stay with the photographer right through family photos, to sort of also help, whether or not, and wrangle, because whether you have 20 people that you’re looking to get family photos of or you have 200 people, it is quite a process, and it’s a complete and total enigma. We can set aside a certain amount of time, but I have seen it run over. I have seen it run under, and all we can do is adapt and flex the schedule. That definitely helps to tighten that timeline.
L – And then to add on to that, so during the bridal party formal, if it’s just me, I photograph the girls, and then I photograph the guys, and then I photograph them together, or if it’s two photographers, I take the girls, my second shooter takes the guys, and we have those things happen at the exact same time and it tightens that timeline up again, and it’s that much more time you can spend at your reception or with your guests, or getting ready in the morning. Whatever it might be, but I will add in there that a second shooter is, I would never suggest hiring your own second shooter, because there’s going to be a couple issues there. One, your main photographer probably has in their contract that they provide the second photographer and there’s no other professionals there. That’s to make sure that I don’t go to take your first kiss photo, and someone steps in front of your camera. It’s to protect the couple.
I look after all the editing. I give the other photographer instructions on how they are to photograph so that everything is coherent and at the end of it being, that’s from photographer A and that’s from photographer B. It should be a full package that you have images that you can print in an album, that all fit nicely together.
C – The sad part with the first kiss photo. Wow I can’t talk today. I’ve seen so many pictures of people putting their phone out or their iPad out even and blocking those shots, so I think even having that second shooter to be able to, almost as a backup sometimes, because many couples are opting for the unplugged. The unplugged ceremony, but unfortunately there’s still some guests that don’t respect that.
L – One other thing that just popped into my head with the second shooter is, my job when I’m the primary photographer is to make sure that I get solid images of everything that happens. When I have a second photographer, I tell them I’m the safety. I make sure that I capture everything that needs to be captured that day. I say to my second photographer, you can get creative. You can go try to find angles. Try to find different lighting setups. You do different stuff, so that you can get not just the safe shots but the really interesting creative stuff at the same time.
C – I know when I got married, I had a second shooter as well, and they got a lot of pictures with my family sitting at ceremony, and they went around to all the guest tables, and there’s pictures of a lot of my guests at their tables and things like that. So they got a lot of these photos, that I had just one photographer, it would have not been able to necessarily capture that. There’s, I think it’s safe to say, that there’s a lot of benefits to having that second shooter.
L – Yeah, absolutely.
C – In the same vein, a lot of couples are also electing nowadays to have the other form of documenting their wedding which is videography, because video seems to king nowadays, on social media and such and so forth, but obviously you’re both trying to shoot the same thing at the same time. How do you work with a videographer to make sure that you’re both capturing what you need to capture?
L – Yeah, that’s a really good question. When my clients have a videographer, I always ask for name and phone number beforehand and I setup a call with them. I get on the phone. Make sure before the day even happens that we are on the same page. We know how we’re going to work together to make sure that each of us get what we need. In those more candid moments, we’re super aware of where each other is. That I’m not in their shot, and they’re not in mine. I’m fortunate enough with photography, that if they were to step into one of my frames, I can say to them hey, just a little bit to the right, and then I can reframe and take the photo again. Video, if I get in there, and there’s no photoshopping, and all of this, right? It’s almost more on me to stay out of the way, but yeah, most videographers I’ve ever worked with, we do a really good job, just staying out of each other’s way, and for the couple, so that they’re aware, during their formal photos, I often, when I go to poses, holds people a whole ton, but I’ll get them to walk hand in hand, and bump hips and flirt, and be goofy together. If it’s just me, I might get them to walk a path twice, and then I’ve got my shot. Whereas now you’ve got a videographer added in, now you may need to do that same thing five or six times, because I get my shot and then they do. So just that the couples are aware that that happens, but those are the biggest things I find with videographer.
C – Absolutely. Now you did mention, when we talk about family photos, shot list. Some couples forget to put one together. What is a shot list, and why should they have one?
L – Definitely. So I think the biggest thing with shot list is for clients to remember that when you’re hiring a professional photographer, we’re going to capture the big pictures that need to be captured during the day. The first kiss, walking up and down the aisle. All those sorts of things. We’re going to capture those. For me, I always ask for a shot list of any photos that I might not be aware that you really want. Maybe it’s your mom and Auntie Pegg who haven’t seen each other in 15 years going for a hug. Things like that. I also ask for a VIP list. Ask them to give me a list of people that are really really important to them in their wedding day. I would love to know if there is a connection between two people that is really really strong, or maybe someone traveled from halfway across the world, and you want to make sure, that some of those photos are captured. So the VIP list is just as important for me as the shot list is, and then a family photos list. That’s absolutely crucial. When I first started out, and I didn’t know what I was doing, I’d sit down with them and say like, okay let’s get you and your dad, and you and your mom, and that type of thing and stuff, and it always felt really disorganized so I learned very quickly, that if I could actually sit down, and build up a whole list, all in advance that we’re going to do this grouping, and then I take that list, and then I actually reorganize it, so that we build the groups. We start with the bride and groom and then I’ll add the parents, and then the sibling, and then everything moves really quickly, and efficiently, and we don’t have to worry with that Auntie Karen who just took off to the vehicle, but shot lists are really important to me, and the connection piece of it. All the time through a wedding, I’m always going back to connection. What’s the connection that’s happening here? What’s the moment? Whose connecting in it? The VIP list is, that’s intertwined in there.
C – Absolutely, definitely. Super important. Now this is probably one that I’m sure you hear a lot.
Cost of wedding photography, because I can even speak to this as a planner. I see some photographers putting in a full day of shooting for $1,200, and I see as much as $8,000, $9,000, $10,000. That’s a massive range. Why does it vary so much?
L – Yeah definitely. I always go back to cars for some reason. You can drive a 1989 Corolla that’s falling apart, or you can drive a Ferrari. They both do the same thing, but your experience is completely different. Are leather seats important to you?
Often you’re paying for experience. You’re paying for expertise. When I was starting out, I didn’t charge very much. It’s because I really didn’t have that much to offer. As awful as that sounds. I didn’t have a camera. I didn’t really know how to pose people. I didn’t know how to make people look good, and I had a full time job at the same time, and so I didn’t charge that much, and now I’m in demand. I have a lot of expertise, that my clients love their photos in the end, because I’ve been able to make them look really good, and little things like, when you’re paying less for a photographer, your risks are actually a lot higher. For example, when I photograph, I shoot with two cameras at the same time. They’re both on my hips.
C – I’ve seen that.
L – I have different lenses on. I’m flexible. I’m ready to go. I’m ready to capture different moments that are happening. Both of my cameras, in the memory card that goes in them, it’s actually two memory cards that go into each camera. So there’s an automatic backup built in there, and I’m just reducing risk for my clients, that they don’t walk away and miss a part of the day because a memory card corrupted or things like that, but I think it goes back to, yeah, you can drive a Ferrari. You can drive a brand new Honda Civic, or you can drive a really old Corolla. There’s different options within there, and it depends on your budget a little bit and depends on what’s important to you. You’ll need to sacrifice different things by reducing your budget a little bit more or do you want to bring your budget back up and make sure you’re going to get exactly what you need.
C – Absolutely, and the thing within the price ranges as well, what should you watch for in terms of packages, because I’ve seen photographers build-out, let’s say a $5,000 or $6,000 package, but then it includes a bunch of albums or prints, or I’ve also just seen a photographer charge and they’ll just give you a CD ROM. I’m ageing myself, sorry. They’ll give you a digital download, of all of the photos. Is that something that somebody else should pay attention to as well?
L – The biggest thing on that, is just figure out what’s important to you. Our album’s really important for me. Interestingly enough, I just got a brand new Macbook pro computer the other day, and the USB, it’s a USB C, versus USB A, I think are the old ones, so actually, the USB plug is completely different.
C – That’s fun.
L – I can’t help but think VHS. That like one point in time VHS. Who would have thought that VHS was going away, or CD Roms? How many people, for example, I have two computers, and neither of them has a CD drive, and so if my images were on a CD, how do I get them off of there? People’s computers fail all the time. That type of thing, so I always push people to printed options, because if you’re going to pay money for a photographer, you better splash your photos all over your walls. Yeah, I don’t even know where we’re going, where I was going with that. Basically, things are always changing, so make sure that if you’re going to go with just digital downloads, that’s something you’re comfortable with long term. That you’re not going to regret it down the road.
C – For sure. I got married almost eight years ago now, and mine came to me on CDs. That’s why CD popped into my head. Usually, I get an emailed gallery nowadays. That’s where that came from.
L – Yeah, I think packages, it’s like figure out what’s important to you. Is the engagement session important to you? Is like, for example, I have a program called Client for Life, in my top package, where the clients for as long as I’m in business can come back and renew for a session with me and they purchase images after the fact, but they get a free session with me every year. Is that something that’s important to you? Do you want photographer with longevity that you’re going to stick with and use them down the road, or would you prefer that in a year, maybe you go to a different photographer, and you get a flavour of photography? What’s important to you?
C – Of course, of course. We’ve talked about the wedding day and what they can expect on a wedding day, but what happens after the wedding? You’ve taken the photos, the whole day is done, you’re going back and I’m assuming hours upon hours of editing, but what kind of happens, and how long can a couple expect before on average for yourself, but also for other photographers that you know of, before they get their photos back?
L – It varies a little bit from photographer to photographer. I can speak for myself obviously, but I can also give a little bit of industry insight. I get home after a wedding on the same night. I take all those memory cards, and I upload them to my computer. Immediately I send them into the cloud, so they’re foolproof, safe way they are saved, and then my memory cards go into a fireproof safe, to make sure, we’ve got copies everywhere. Nothing’s going to happen, and then the editing process begins. Within 24 hours of a wedding, I email over some sneak peeks. We call them in the industry, but basically, some images that you can use on your social media. You can put on thank you cards, and things like that, and then within four weeks of their wedding, I am done editing, and I am delivering your albums, and meeting up with them and going through them, and we figure out things like albums and wall parts and that type of thing. I am aware that four weeks is way quicker than the industry average, and the typical industry average for this area is closer to eight to 16 weeks, which in the heat of wedding season.
Yeah, when you’re shooting three or four days a week. That’s why it takes so long. Often with a wedding, I’m shooting 5,000, 6,000 photos, and we need to go through every one of them and retouch and all that sort of stuff, so that’s why it takes so long, but I use some processes to speed that up. For me, it’s very very important to get the photos to my clients as quickly as possible, so that’s why I’m at four weeks, but I’ve even had a photographer taking like four or five months, after the wedding, which that’s their thing. That’s totally fine. Just make sure to anyone that’s hiring a photographer that they’re aware of what that timeline is well beforehand and that it’s written in the contract what they can expect.
C – In terms of actually, this is something that I’ve come across when I’ve seen throughout the industry when it comes to paying for your photos I’ve had some photographers make sure that everything is paid up in advance at the wedding. I’ve had photographers say okay well I’m delivering your photos. You have to pay the balance. Is there pros and cons, in terms of comfort level? What should a couple be looking for with that?
L – I think again it goes down to what a couple is comfortable with. For me, I require all payment ahead of time. Basically, my clients are either on a payment plan, or it’s 50% down to book me. 50% due a week before the wedding. You have to be comfortable with whatever they’re doing. My biggest piece of advice is if you’re going with somebody who is newer to the industry, or less experienced, I’d be a little bit more hesitant to hand over a bunch of money. All those sorts of things. I’d maybe be a little bit more leery there, but if you’re working with someone whose reputable, and they have been in the industry for a long time, check out things like Google reviews and Facebook reviews. If anything’s ever gone wrong, there will be something on them.
C – That’s true. That’s true.
L – Anybody whose reputable, is usually taking payment before the wedding. No different than most vendors.
C – My payments are payments two weeks before the wedding. That way just go into the wedding day and you’re not worried about money anymore.
L – Totally, totally. The worst thing I want to do is you’re getting makeup done on your wedding day, and I’m like hey do you have some money for me?
C – Yeah, it’s awkward. Money on the wedding day is never a fun thing. We talked about, you said you shoot like 5,000, 6,000 pictures on average during a wedding day. Does the couple get all of those back or can they just expect a gallery of say 1,000 photos or 2,000 photos? Pulling numbers out of the air.
L – Absolutely, yeah. The worst thing I could do to a couple is to give them 5,000 photos after their wedding. That would not be fun. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but that is a lot of photos, so basically my philosophy is, I go in and I get rid of anything that’s unflattering, out of focus, that you wouldn’t do anything with. A photo that just is maybe of the floor, because I accidentally hit the shutter on my camera. I’ll take all that stuff out. That all comes out.
My contract says I deliver on average 50 images per hour of coverage, but that’s super flexible. It’s an average. I’d actually say my average is probably a little bit higher than that. More like 75 per hour of coverage, but it depends on a few things. If you have a 10 hour day, and two hours of travel in there, there’s two hours that I’m not photographing. That average gets pulled down, or if maybe you have performers coming in, or things like that. My shutter count will go way up. There will be that many more photos of reactions and stuff like that, but yeah, part of my job is to make sure I’m delivering the photos you’re going to love and that the couple doesn’t have to do themselves and figure out which ones they like and which ones they don’t like.
C – Of course, and also in the same vein, I’m assuming like most photographers you shoot in what they call RAW format, and I have heard couples in the past where they want to demand that they have the RAW photos. Is that something you provide, and what’s the policy for most photographers around that?
L – I’ll kind of start by saying, raw is interesting. A lot of people will think that raw means unedited. Raw is actually a file format, on a JPEG or a PNG or a PDF sort of thing. It’s a file format that, most of the population does not have software that could even open it. It’s like a negative. That’s the way I explain it. Not to be all super scientific, when the camera takes a photo, if I shoot in RAW format, it’s putting a ton of data in there, and the photo actually looks nothing like what I took. Things are muted and changed and that sort of thing, but there’s a lot more data in there, so more flexibility in editing and things. Way beyond.
C – For the layman.
L – Yeah, so there’s a few reasons I shoot raw. I never hand over raw, because my job again is to give my clients photos that they can put on their wall and put in albums and things like that, so I go through and I correct things and I put things where they’re supposed to be and that and I don’t want to give people a bunch of files they can’t open, and they’re huge. They are massive massive files, and there’s really no need for people to have their raw files. I do all the work for them, and then they get their JPEGs.
C – That’s what they’re paying you for really. Talking about photos, and things like that, one of the things that I have also seen within the world of photographers is some photographers retain copyright to their photos and others don’t, and they sign it off to the couple. What do you do, and how does that really work, especially when a couple’s hiring a photographer? At what point, how does copyright affect them, and the use of their photos moving forward
L – I have an overarching understanding of how copyright law works. I can’t quote it to you. Under Canadian law, photographers retain their own copyright. I have the copyright of the images. However, my clients, it’s written in my contract, receive personal rights to the photos. They can print them. They can share with friends and family. All those sorts of things. However, they cannot sell them to the maker of the dress, for the maker of the dress to build a billboard and use the image for that type of thing, but they get all the personal use in the world if they want to use those photos for and I retain copyright, and then there’s also something else, that’s in a photographer’s contract called a model release, and so my clients get to tell me what I can do with their photos afterwards. Can I sell that image to a dress designer, things like that? Can I not? Can I use it in some marketing online? Can I not? Do they want it completely private? I had a client recently, the fiance was, the groom to be is an undercover RCMP officer. He can’t have photos all over online.
C – Interwebs.
L – Interwebs, yes, and so that’s a conversation that needs to happen between the couple and their photographer and make sure their contract reflects what’s right for them.
C – I know for myself and I know other vendors that are participating in a wedding day, especially photographers. Planners and designers, and people that are doing a lot of the decor elements, how does that work? Because I know I talk to my couples about it and I talk to the photographer about it, but for that couple who is trying to facilitate that? How does that process work that they’re sharing with vendors and those sorts of things?
L – Depends on the photographer a little bit for me. I have a conversation with my clients, that your vendors are going to want photos of your wedding day. Are you okay with me sending those over on your behalf so you don’t have to put all the work in? Things like that, and I give them access to images from the wedding, and then my clients direct me on what they want, or do they want them shared? Do they not? Do they prefer to do it themselves? How does that all work, but it’s a conversation that will happen between clients and their photographer.
C – Of course, absolutely. All right. Is there anything else our viewers should know? I think we’ve covered it.
L – I feel like we covered a lot. I think the biggest thing is just having a conversation with your photographer. A lot of people come to me thinking that it’s almost like a dictatorship, and I tell them what they’re going to do and what package they’re going to go to and it’s not. It’s making sure it’s a right fit, and making sure the package reflects what’s important to them, and kind of getting a good feel for things, and if anything doesn’t feel right, what then?
C – Follow your gut.
L – Yeah totally. It’s a huge day, and you deserve amazing photos of it. Make sure that’s something that’s right for them.
C – Wonderful. Thank you so much for coming and for spending the time, and talking about all these different things. Now if you’re interested in checking out Lindsey or her work or potentially hiring her and her packages, her website is www.lindseyparkin.ca, or you can also check her out on Instagram @lindseyparkinphotography.
I just want to thank everybody for tuning in today. I look forward to coming back to you next week. I know we touched on it a little bit, but I actually have a videographer who is going to be coming to share the other side of documenting your wedding day.
And if you haven’t already, please make sure to check out our Facebook group, Edmonton Wedding Wise. On there, I am sharing these videos, as well as other content, to keep the conversation going, and really just provide support. Ask your questions. Do whatever you need, and myself and other vendors that are a part of that group, who are happy to respond.
Thank you everybody, and hope you have a fantastic weekend, and we’ll see you next time.