Frequently asked questions about wedding photography
I believe weddings are a big deal, and so is wedding photography. So, I’m pretty sure you have tonnes of questions for me. For starters, I have compiled my answers for some of the most commonly asked questions.
I hope you find them helpful. Of course, please don’t hesitate to give me a call if you have any unanswered questions.
What's your retainer fee or booking amount?
The booking amount is 50% of the total payment. This also serves as the retainer fee to block your date exclusively on my calendar.
If I cancel, will I receive the deposit back?
Well, this is how it works:
Scenario 1: You cancel the contract less than a week after you make the retainer fee/booking amount payment.
The refund will be Retainer Fee minus losses I incur through cancellation of travel tickets/accommodation. More often than not, you'll receive a 100% refund.
Scenario 2: You cancel the contract a week or more after making the retainer fee/booking amount payment.
The refund will be 50% of the Retainer Fee. Example: If your booking amount is 50,000INR, the refund will be 25,000INR.
How far in advance should I book you?
I'd say as soon as you make up your mind. Until the retainer fee payment is made, I'll not be able to hold the date for you or turn down other commissions for the same date.
What is your payment schedule like?
My payment terms are simple - 70% to book and block the date on my calender, and the balance 30% is due within one week after the wedding date. Image editing will begin only after realization of the complete payment - and this is non-negotiable.
Location and other
Where do you live? Where is your business based?
My business and I are based in Chennai, India.
Do you travel for shoots?
Yes, indeed. I am open to traveling to any part of the world -- I am quite adventurous that way, having been a biker and all.
If you have to shoot outstation, who makes the travel arrangements?
I handle all travel logistics myself. You just need to give me the dates and timings, and I'll be there.
How do you handle the financial aspects of travel and accommodation?
Travel and accommodation will involve a direct reimbursement of the charges. I'll make all the arrangements and produce the invoice before the final payment is due.
When will I get to see my images?
Within a week, you will receive a link to a preview gallery with 30-40 handpicked, favorite images from your wedding day. Within three-four weeks, you will receive the link to a password-protected online gallery of all your wedding day images -- hand-edited and in high resolution.
Do you edit all of the images that you shoot?
I edit all the images that make it to the final shortlist. Because my focus is on quality, the images go through a meticulous culling and filtration process to ensure you get only the best images.
How many pictures will I receive?
It depends on the number of events. The average numbers, from my experience:
- Engagement - 200
- Outdoor shoot - 50
- Wedding and Reception - 300
Will I receive the RAW, unedited files?
This is a controversial subject. Since you ask, I'll elaborate.
The answer is: the RAW, unedited images will not be made available for viewing or printing. Rest assured that this is part of my effort to set very high quality standards. Images that don't make the cut are rejected because they are blurry, heavily underexposed or duplicates. They are trash-worthy at best.
Let me also assure you that if it's a picture of a great moment, and if I can still salvage it, I will retain it in the shortlist.
Will I receive a digital copy of the edited images?
Of course, you will. Along with the printed album and the link to the online gallery, you will receive all the high resolution digital files on a thumb drive.
What should I do if I don’t want my images published anywhere?
Your images are the only way I can market my work. But, I understand that not everybody likes their personal moments appearing online for a billion people to see. I respect that, and to balance out any probable loss of business for me, I charge a nominal fee of 10,000INR to transfer the copyright to you. Once this is done, you'll be the sole person to decide whether your images will get published or remain private.
Do I get the copyright of the images?
In general, I provide a copyright release after the online gallery is made available to you. This means you can print or publish the images by yourself. This, however, doesn't equal to a copyright transfer. I will continue to own the copyright unless you choose to make a nominal payment of 10,000INR and purchase the rights.
Can I provide you with a “shot list”?
You can provide me with a "shot list" of significant events, but beyond that any list would mean I compromise on my personal style and make images that aren't really unique.
I'm sure you'd want to work with me because you love my style and the kind of images I make. Providing me with reference images will not just make my job tougher but would also mean emulating another photographer and copying another image. So, I suggest we work together to make unique, beautiful images that will be the outcome of my personal vision.
Do you take staged, group shots with guests?
I don't take staged, group shots with guests -- because it isn't my strongest suit. However, I do include some light-hearted, naturally grouped-together shots with parents, siblings, and your closest pals.
What kind of images do you include in your wedding package?
My style is primarily creative documentary. And, I capture:
- Images of the bride and groom getting ready
- Portraits of the bride and groom -- couple portraits as well
- Finery details -- your wedding dress, rings, jewellery, and so on
- Location details -- if you have spent time and effort in setting up the decor to personal taste, picking out colors, and so on and so forth. I believe in shooting details only when it's something you'd want to remember later in life.
Do you do black and white?
I absolutely love black and white images, but my decision to edit in color or B&W depends on the general mood of the image as well as the general light conditions at the location.
How do you categorize your photography style?
I call my style "expressive documentary." That is, I shoot a wedding with a documentary approach and a perspective that is unique as well as expressive.
For more about me and my personal style, check out my elaborate bio.
Will you personally shoot my wedding or will you send others within your team? Do you shoot alone or with assistants?
I am always the primary shooter at the weddings I get booked for. I take wedding photography seriously, and understand that it's not just a business choice but a life-changing decision for you.
Choosing the right photographer makes all the difference between a lifetime of lovely memories and a bunch of "deliverables" that you'd rather keep tucked away in your cupboard.
I have a second shooter (not an assistant, but a skilled photographer) complementing me at most weddings -- it helps create a different perspective. But I understand that you may not have the budget for a second photographer at times -- which is the only time I shoot alone.
How confident are you about shooting destination weddings?
Most photographers would agree that making a good image outdoors, at a destination wedding is easier than making a decent image indoors, at a regular Indian wedding. But that depends on how well-equipped the photographer is to overcome an array of challenges that you can't always be prepared for in destination wedding photography -- weather, scale, drastic shifts in light levels, and such.
This is when technical expertise counts -- as much as creativity. With years of practice, several thousand hours of honing my skills, and a strong grasp of the technical aspects of photography, I can confidently say that I'm perfectly equipped to shoot any kind of wedding -- and make good images no matter the challenges. As my portfolio would confirm!
Would I call myself a destination wedding photographer? Well, it is a fancy word to use -- I'd rather be known as a wedding photographer for all seasons and all locations.
How do we get the best out of you at our wedding?
My dream wedding is not about the destination -- although it does help to have a scenic setting. More importantly, I love working with couples who treasure their relationship and don't hold back from expressing. They are not caught up in the little things, and live every moment of their wedding knowing fully well it is one of the most important days of their lives.
Even if it's a low-key affair, enjoy marrying the person you love. It makes my job easier -- and your pictures will be beautiful.
Having said that, if you're already investing in decor and location, hire specialists who know how to "light right". Poorly and excessively lit venues don't make for good images. Clutter-free locations also contribute to good images.
For great portraits, time is of the essence. If it's practically possible, I'd like atleast an hour before the event to make your portraits. It doesn't really help if all I get is 15 minutes -- creative storytelling needs time, so does perfection.
How many images does a wedding album have?
The number isn't fixed. But, I recommend no more than 150 pictures in an album. There are two reasons.
One, the albums that I print are heavy -- so, more the number of sheets, the weaker the bind. About 35-40 sheets (roughly 3-4 images per sheet/spread) will make sure you stay within safe limits.
Two, a story told in fewer, unique pictures is far more powerful than a lot of pictures (some very similar to the rest) that cramp the space and make storytelling more tedious. Crowded spreads can also be an eyesore.
Will I get to choose the images that go in the album? How does the album design process work?
I choose to do most of the manual, tedious tasks -- to make my processes easy and straightforward for you. This also includes the album design. Let me explain how it works:
- I will pre-design the album layouts with images that I believe are the best and most relevant to tell the story of your wedding day in the most beautiful way possible.
- When I deliver the digital, edited images through an online gallery, I'll also send you a link to an album proofing interface from Album Parrot.
- This interface has two sections -- your layouts, and a gallery strip that lines up all the digital files of your wedding day.
- The interface allows you to make changes to the album by dragging and dropping images from the gallery on top of the layouts, or you can simply choose to comment on an image by clicking on the layouts.
- Once you approve the final layouts, I'll initiate the printing process.
How long will my album take?
After the layouts are approved, the printed album takes a maximum of three weeks to arrive.
What cover options do you provide?
You can choose from a bunch of cover options -- Suede, Linen, Silk, Faux Leather, and so on. But, the most popular ones are Silk and Suede. You can check out some album samples here.
Do you have a backup plan for images?
An image backup plan is a business necessity. I'd say if you want to hire a photographer, even if it isn't me, make sure you ask this question. If the photographer doesn't have a solid backup plan -- run as far as you can.
My backup plan looks something like this:
- I shoot with multiple cameras, each of which has 2 memory card slots. So, every image I shoot has instantaneous backup in the second card.
- After the shoot, I use what is technically called Smart Previews to create a memory-efficient copy of the files. The Smart Preview files are uploaded to the cloud -- with Smart Previews, I will ALWAYS have an editable RAW file copy of your images.
- The original RAW files from the card will be culled (filtered to remove "bad" images), and the culled files will be transferred to a temporary hard disk as well as my backup disk that doesn't leave my workstation.
- After the images are edited, HiRes JPEGs are uploaded to the cloud as well as transferred to my backup disk.
What is your backup plan if you're unwell or unable to shoot my wedding? Do you provide a backup photographer for emergencies?
Well, I keep myself very fit -- and thankfully, I have never been ill enough to miss a shoot. Touch wood.
But yes, I do have a backup plan in case I'm unable to shoot. Unlike the general practice of getting the second photographer to shoot your wedding, I will instead send you references of photographers who can match the level of quality I offer. I want to make sure you choose the photographer you want and not just someone who is a "backup" for emergencies -- the focus again will be on quality.
Will I be charged for overtime?
Absolutely not. I understand that weddings can never be limited to a strict schedule. It's just the way it is -- sometimes an event that is planned for an hour stretches well over 3-4 hours.
This is the reason my packages are all priced by the day -- and not by the hour.
What equipment do you use?
My choice of equipment is dependent on my vision and the kind of image I'd like to make. If you're eager to peep into my bag, this is what I carry:
- Canon 5D Mark III
- Nikon D750
- Sigma 35mm F1.4 for Canon
- Sigma 24-35mm F2.0 for Nikon
- Canon 100mm F2.0
- Canon 24mm F2.8
- Tamron 90mm F2.8 Macro
- Speedlights and a whole bunch of lighting tools
Will you be able to provide references of good teams for makeup, decor, and the works?
Of course. I share a good rapport with all the other teams that I work with, and will be able to provide you references depending on your location and preferences.
All about me
How long have you been in business? How many weddings have you photographed?
I've been in business since 2013, with around 100 weddings under my belt (as of December 2016) -- an average of 2 weddings a month.
I have shot traditional mandapam weddings, in misty cold weather at 2am in Rajasthan, in large hotels, during torrential rain, for four days at a stretch, in poor light as well as great light, temple and church and gurudwara weddings -- I love unique challenges and I thrive in them.
Do you teach photography?
I am the chief editor and primary contributor (with more than 100 articles) to a photography learning weblog called Cambyte. I hope to share the knowledge I have gained with equally passionate Indian wedding photographers -- some of who have shot no more than 50 pictures and some who have shot over 10,000.
Have you received any recognition at all?
With God's grace, I have. I am an International award-winning member of WPJA -- a highly reputed international association of wedding photojournalists from countries all around the world.
I am also a member (handpicked and filtered) of Fearless Photographers -- a professional wedding photographers directory of the world's best wedding photographers.
Apart from International recognition, I have been featured in Indian magazines and dailies like The Hindu, SayShaadi, Wedding Vows, and so on.
What are your other skills and interests?
I'm not sure if I was born with skills and peculiar interests, but I certainly picked them up as I grew.
I write. For a long time, it was my profession as well -- 4 out of my 8 early career years were at Hewlett Packard, before I moved on to photography.
I am a biker, a wildlife enthusiast, a movie buff, and an avid reader. I love outdoor games like Badminton, Cricket, Volleyball and am reasonably good at all of them. I play Carrom and Table Tennis even better.
I am an automobile engineer by education, but haven't had the motivation to spend time to take my bike and car apart. I hope to do that someday.
Are you easy to get along with?
I certainly hope so. Or, I should assume that all the people I have met and speak with are easy to get along with. Maybe, we should catch up over coffee and you'll be able to tell.
Why do you shoot weddings?
Honestly, I never wanted to be a wedding photographer. I spent the first 4 years of my life in photography shooting birds in a nearby marshland -- and threw in the occasional landscape and home experiment.
Then life took a turn for the better. I got married, and in the course of looking for wedding photographers who could shoot my wedding, I stumbled across the inimitable Jerry Ghionis. His pictures changed the way I thought about wedding photography -- and the rest as they say is history.
Wedding after wedding, I observed and experienced first-hand the beautiful complexity of human emotion. In all the chaos, there is always a sliver of light shining through -- a memory so pure and overwhelming that only a photograph can preserve it.
No matter the fatigue, no matter the mayhem, I always wait for that sliver -- because it makes me happy. And, it's my little moment in the sun, the tiny joy that I've grown to savor.
Do you have any questions that I haven't addressed? You can always reach out to me. Either through email: email@example.com, or mobile: +91-9840201678.