The Q & A
So, how much does wedding photography cost? Prices can range from $700 to $10,000, and even more! Photographs will be your only permanent record of the day. You will want great photographs, so be prepared to spend a minimum of $3,000+. Reprints (depending on size) will be $10 to $200 each. Expect better photographers to charge the higher rates. In other words, it is reasonable for an inexperienced photographer to charge you as little as $700 for a wedding &$10 for a print. And, it is reasonable for an excellent photographer to charge you$3000+ for a wedding package & $40 for a print of the same size. That is because you are getting better service and a better product from an experienced professional. If you are looking for a bargain and shop via phone for pricing, you are following a recipe for poor to mediocre photography. Research indicates that photography runs between nine and fifteen percent of the total wedding budget. When couples value photography highly and are on a limited budget, they will spend up to 30-40% of their wedding budget on photography. Most brides initially underestimate the cost of photography by 50% - in other words, you will probably spend at least twice as much as you budgeted, unless you have advice from a wedding coordinator who is familiar with prices in your area.
What are the advantages of hiring a professional? A professional photographer will be timely - arriving at your wedding promptly, and getting the results to you on time. A pro has just the right equipment for photographing your wedding. Having photographed many weddings, an experienced photographer will be at ease at your wedding. A pro uses a color laboratory that is in the business of meeting high professional standards of print quality or has his/her own lab with high end software and equipment. And, a pro is used to working with individuals, couples, and groups to make the formal photography as well as the rest of the day go smoothly. When you think about the cost of photography, remember that the photographer's fee is only part of your investment: You, your parents, your extended family and your friends will be investing time with the photographer during your wedding. Don't waste time on your wedding day with a photographer who won't produce results you love! Hiring your friend or family member is not always a good idea either. It is possible that at the wedding they may want to “hang out” or “have a drink or two” or possibly just disappear for periods of time. A professional is there to work and has only one thing on his/her mind, capturing the perfect images. Also when everything is said and done, and if the images are not what you expected, strained relations with that friend or family member are inevitable.
What do I get and how much does it cost? Even when shopping for shoes or furniture you wouldn't ask that question until you find the style and quality you like. After you have looked through a photographer's website or portfolio - seeing candids, formals and illustrative pictures, you will know if this photographer has the technique, style and spirit to be the eyes through which you and your children will see your wedding day. Of course, you should determine if the photographer is within your budget, give or take a little, but what you really want from your images are memories, feeling, quality and style. Look for an established and reliable photographer whose work moves you, whose technical quality is tops. When you find a photographer who makes you happy, you will never regret your investment, whatever the dollar cost. When we have invested in items that will be with us for the rest of our lives, our satisfaction has been highest when we have paid that extra bit for the best quality.
How many pictures will I get? We will shoot as many images as possible during the hours we are there, usually 1500+ images. Some photographers will limit a starting package to 600 – 700 images. So do they stop when they reach that limit even when they are hallway through the reception??? Other photographers will tell you that you will receive 2500-3000 images. That’s all well and good if you want to go through 2500-3000 mediocre images hoping to find just one decent image. We don’t shoot on the “Odds” theory meaning shooting tons and tons of images hoping for a few good ones. We are always scanning for great shots, grab it and move on instead of waiting for something to happen or blasting away hoping to catch something. Chances are going to be really good that you will want to hang that image on your wall! Not to mention your parent’s wall, and eventually your children’s wall! This and you don’t want someone making your wedding look like the 4th of July with all those flashes!
What’s your primary style? Posed and formal, relaxed, photojournalistic, creative, artistic, candid, traditional?
I have been a professional photographer for over 25 years. Not only am I a wedding photographer but I am also a portrait/celebrity photographer capturing many of Hollywood’s iconic actors and musicians for magazines, albums, advertising, concerts and personal needs as well ( See the “Celebrity Site” link to the left :). I have also shot weddings for a few of Hollywood’s elite. This continuing work has honed my skills in portraiture as well as a unique photojournalistic style. My second shooters are also of the highest caliber. They were chosen for their artistic talent, friendly personality and gift to be in the right place and time to catch that special moment/s forever. But a picture is worth a thousand words so please look at our galleries and let our work speak for itself.
Do you shoot in color or black and white? Or both?
Do you shoot in a digital format that can create both color and b/w versions of the same picture? All digital images are originally color but in retouching any image can be transformed into beautifully toned b/w images. Usually the main photographer’s images are kept in color while the second shooters images are turned to b/w unless of course they captured something that the main shooter did not. Also Images turned into b/w can have sections of the photo left in the original color they were shot such as the bouquet or boutonnière.
What kind of input can we have on the direction of the shots? Can we give you a shot list to work from?
You will have full input in the story-telling through images of your wedding. The job of a professional photographer is to work with you and together come up with images that you will treasure forever. The photographer knows all the special shots that are presented during the course of the day but there may be special people, situations, items or even places at the venue or home that you will want to include. So please let us know and we will make sure that those images are included.
Are you the wedding photographer who will actually take our pictures?
All weddings are photographed by Will Blochinger! He also employs only the best, his select group of amazing, talented and personable photographers as second shooters. We are not a “wedding factory” shooting multiple weddings every day. We only shoot one wedding a day so that you get the attention your big day deserves!
My wedding and reception are in different locations. Is there an extra fee for this?
There is usually no charge for travel unless there is significant travel time. If these fees need to be applied it will be discussed and agreed upon well before the wedding and it will be one flat rate.
What kind of equipment will you bring with you? How intrusive will lighting, tripods, other equipment or assistants be?
The job of a professional photographer is to be practically invisible at the right times. During the ceremony we try to limit the amount of flash and stay out of the way of the guests and of course the bride and groom all the while getting the shots that you want! When it comes to the equipment I use, I always buy & use the most recent and top-of-the-line equipment available. At the moment I use Canon’s newest top line camera, the 1DX. All lenses, flash heads and other equipment are also top line as well! You wouldn’t race the Indy 500 with a go-cart…would you? Neither would I !!! Do you have backup equipment and is it the same quality as the primary equipment?
We always have two extra camera bodies just in case as well as multiple flashes, lenses, battery packs and whatever else we may need so there is nothing to chance.
Can we buy the full resolution files from you?
All of our packages come with full resolution files of all the wedding & engagement images on a USB flash drive and decorative storage box with full printing rights. All images on the drive, which you will receive, will be individually edited, renamed and color corrected, toned, sharpened and cropped if needed. We do not “batch” adjust your images! Each image will look its absolute best!
Have you shot a wedding at my location before?
Chances are pretty good that we have been there before and know all the perfect locations for portraits and all the great angles for the ceremony and the reception. If we have not previously been there, then we make a point to “scout” the location prior to the wedding so no time is wasted during the day looking for places to shoot. We will also talk to the venue manager to find out their restrictions (if any) applicable to the venue.
What time will you begin and how long will you stay until?
We start with the bride and groom as they prepare for the day, usually a few hours before the ceremony to chronicle every moment and shoot the location. This means during hair and make-up, getting the dress ready, shooting the ceremony area, reception area, flowers, bouquets, place cards, rings, shoes, dress, veil, family and of course the groom! You will have us for the whole day into the evening and right up to the end of the night so there will be nothing to miss!
When is the best time to take portraits and how long will it take?
We know that the portrait session may not (at the time) be where everyone wants to be. The party is going on…the bar is open…and the band is cranking! But after the party is over, the photos you have will be the most important thing (besides your spouse!) that you will have from that day! Not to say that it can’t be fun! Our job is to get everyone together (with some help from you both) and move everything along at a nice pace. We already know where we are shooting and what. Once we do the group images, we do shots of both of you. These shots of both the groups and just the couple can be taking inside and out (weather permitting). Usually all this can be done within 30 to 40 minutes. The best time in our opinion, to take these shots, is right after everyone gets dressed and before the guests (not the wedding party) arrive. There are many reasons for this. First, everyone is fresh! No one has cried (happy tears) or sat out in the sun during the long ceremony. Second, there aren’t a hundred people looking on taking pics or distracting the people being photographed. Third, we know where everyone is because the party hasn’t started and no-one feels as though there missing out on anything. Now there are the couples who hold on to the tradition of the groom not seeing the bride. Therefore the portraits need to be taken after the ceremony. This is fine as well. Usually, directly after the ceremony, we do the portraits and will try to have all of you back just in time for cocktail hour! But if you are a couple who wants their images done before the cocktail hour so that they can enjoy it, what we will do is set up the “First Look” This is where the Groom sees the bride for the first time. This can be done with the entire wedding party or just in private. All in all, it will be fun and the images we take will last a lifetime!
When will the images be ready to view?
All images will be posted on your website usually within one to two weeks. During the reception and dinner we set up an area where we will pick out fifty to sixty images and load them onto a slideshow that can be viewed immediately on a 27” monitor screen. There will be guest cards available to all that attend, inviting them to the website to register so that they can view and/or order images for themselves or as a gift for the happy couple. It is also a way for people to meet and talk like being around a water-cooler at work. It gives them something in common to strike up conversations about the images and the event that are happening. You’ll be amazed how a crowd develops around the slideshow before them.
What amenities do the packages have and can I customize one?
We have set our prices to be very comparable to other top-quality photographers in the area so that you can make your decision based on style rather than budget. We know your wedding is special and we also know that not every photographer’s approach to composition and technique will be suited to your taste. We invite you to look around and make the best decision according to who you “click” with and whose artistry is in harmony with your special day. While we have many packages available, we usually end up tailoring packages for most of our clients according to their needs. We can set up a free consultation where we will go over each package and explain every item and quite possibly and hopefully, tailor a package for you.
Do you work well with the other vendors? i.e.: coordinators, caterers, and videographers.
I have a recommended list of vendors which include make-up, hair, florists, DJ’s, Band’s, wedding gown and tux stores, venues and printers. One of the people I contact prior to the event is the florist to make sure the flowers are there when I arrive. Once we are at the venue we speak with the band or DJ and the venue coordinator to receive the schedules of the day. But no matter which vendors are present at the event, we always respect every vendors job and do our utmost to make it a great day for everyone involved!
How will you be dressed?
We always wear black suit pants and black long sleeve dress shirts to dress accordingly for the importance of the event. If it is a “black tie” affair, we can do that as well.
What type and how much assistance will you provide in planning my album?
First you decide what images you want to see in your album. Then you give us an idea of the order, the color scheme and so forth. After the album is designed, we will email you a PDF file of the album layout for you both to look over. You can make up to five detailed changes until you are completely happy with the final product. If you want to make changes, you can let me know and I will send you a new PDF file to approve.
Are you are a member of any associations or groups specific to the industry and are you insured?
I am a member of the Professional Photographer of America, but basically, most groups or associations that state that you are a certified photographer may only require a monthly fee to join or pass an online exam. Opinions vary as to the credibility of these certifications. I mainly joined the PPA because of the insurance program which I am a fully insured member. Insurance certifications are insured to every venue prior to the wedding as well. In my opinion, the best way to see if a photographer has skill and is a professional is to go to his/her website or check out his/her portfolio. You may also want to Google their name to see if there are any cheers or jeers regarding their reputation!
Do you travel out-of-state to do photography?
Yes!! I consider travel on a case-by-case basis, depending upon my schedule and the distance to travel. Traveling outside of the country is also an option. Travel costs are usually based upon my costs - We don't charge for the time involved in traveling. We currently have studios in North Jersey & Austin, Texas.
Can you make me thinner, heavier, taller, shorter…can you lose my double chin or age lines…can you take out acne or whiten my teeth…can you lose the waiter in the background?
Yes…yes…yes…and yes! As I said before, there is practically nothing I cannot do in Photoshop. If we take a group portrait and Aunt Tillie blinks, sneezes, or looks away, we can pull her from a previous image and paste her in and no one will be the wiser. The trick to retouching is not to make it obvious while making everything and everyone look amazing!
How can I help the photographer on the wedding day?
One of the main things is to help the photographer organize everyone within the wedding party and family members for the portraits. Because the photographer does not know everyone at your wedding and reception, group shots will be more efficient and more photographs will be taken by helping gather and organize guests for photographs. One important thing to remember is to give the photographer the time to take quality shots. It is not to anyone’s benefit if the wedding is rushed. There should be ample time for formal photography and intimate couple photo shoots. Secondly, it’s helpful to alert your guests that while the photographer is taking photos, it’s best to refrain from taking any themselves. The flashes from conventional cameras have multiple flash sequences that will interrupt the professional photographer’s camera, rendering the photos over exposed.
Should we provide lunch or dinner for the photographer?
Yes. On a full day shoot, we are working double time, and will need time to relax and recoup during the day, even for a short while. Typically, during a seven or eight hour shoot, it is best to have the maître d’ provide meals at the same time as your guests. This allows for personal regrouping, a resurgence of creativity, as well as time for the camera equipment to recharge and, in some cases, downloading of images. Also, no one wants to see pictures of them eating so it’s the perfect time.
How can payments be made?
We accept credit cards, personal checks or cash. Payments are divided into three installments. The first payment or retainer fee is due with the contract. The second is delivered two weeks prior to the event date and the final within two weeks after the event. We also can set up a monthly payment plan to suit your needs.
We don't really like formal photos; do we have to do these?
It is your wedding, and you don't have to do anything you don't want to do. We can do informal shots or just full candids. We do however recommend some sort of portrait session to at least make your parents happy because you know they’ll want pictures to show all their friends!
We would like a slideshow with our images from growing up to the wedding day. Do you put these slideshows together for your clients?
We would be happy to put a slideshow together for you with your and my images. Prices depend on the amount of images to be included and would start around $500 for this service. We can also take the “older images and restore them if you like prior to adding them to the slide show.
Why do you love shooting weddings? And why are you not doing celebrities instead?
Photography is my life. When I am not capturing weddings and events, I am traveling, capturing life or on my computer working on Photoshop. And on occasion I still travel around the world doing celebrity work. I grew up in NJ and I love living here so this is my home base. But rest assured that once I am booked for a wedding, I will be there for you no matter what!! I enjoy making images that bring emotional responses to people. It is very satisfying to see people enjoying my creative work and to know that my images are going to live on in your families forever. I love what I do! I believe it shows in my images and it also comes through the subject being photographed.