Common Questions asked of a Wedding Photographer

Why don’t you always have two photographers?

A vital element to my shooting style is that I fit right into your wedding day. Often at weddings people ask me, “So how do you know the bride and groom?”. I love it when guests mistake me as a family friend because it means that I have succeeded at fitting into the group as comfortably as possible.  I spend all day pointing my camera at people – I don’t want them to grow tired of me, or worse find my presence annoying. Getting your photography subjects comfortable is vital to capturing their true essence.

When there are two photographers covering the event it becomes twice as hard to fit in with the group. People notice us more and we look more like outsiders – a team of professionals. So I only suggest a second photographer when the logistics of the wedding warrant it.

When are two wedding photographers needed?

I look for a couple of key factors to determine if a wedding needs a second photographer. First is the scale of the wedding : the number of people attending and size of the wedding party. Weddings in Boston with two hundred or more guests begin to push the limits of what I can effectively cover myself. It’s important that I capture most of your guests celebrating along with you – two photographers can better cover such a large groups of people.

Another key indicator I the logistics of your wedding. Some wedding days take place entirely at one location near Boston while others have 4-5 locations across eastern Massachusetts. Will you be getting ready with your bridesmaids at a Boston Hotel while your fiancé is getting ready at a house outside the city? Will your guests be arriving at the reception hall for cocktail hour while the  bridal party heads to the beach for formal photos? Do you want the wedding photographer to travel with you in your limousine or party bus?  Will we be  navigating the buy streets of Boston looking for parking while the sun is setting in ten minutes? Some wedding days present their own unique set of challenging circumstances which could really be handled better with two photographers. When we meet I will ask you about these logistics to be sure you get the proper coverage of the day.

How much time do I need a wedding photographer for?

Ah – a good question. It all depends on so many factors that there is unfortunately no simple answer. Do you want to be photographed while you are getting ready at your house or hotel room? If so that could take anywhere from twenty minutes to an hour.

Do you want to do some formals beforehand with your bridesmaids and family? That needs additional time as well.

There is often travel between locations and since you dont want me to arrive late to your ceremony we need to plan extra time for traffic or the occasional wrong turn.

Formal photos, whenever we take them, usually take 30-60 minutes to get. Special locations (a trek through the woods) or larger groups (over thirty) can take up to 90 minutes.

If budget is a concern, keep in mind that that typically I dont need to stay till the very end of your wedding reception. Most receptions end with about two or more hours of music, dancing and drinking. This often creates great photographic moments but after about an hour of this the opportunity for photographs declines rapidly – as guests consume more alcohol, grow tired and begin to head home after a long day of partying.

Should we shoot the formal photos before the ceremony or after?

This is a very personal decision. I for one am not an old-fashioned or superstitious person so if it were up to me I would shoot a good number of your formal photos before the wedding. Why? Well I think that you might want to go celebrate with your family and friends after your ceremony – not stand around posing for pictures. I think you would rather be munching on some yummy appetizers and sipping your favorite cocktail than hanging with your boston wedding photographer. I love the formal wedding photos, and typically they look just as wonderful if taken before the ceremony as they do afterwards. Your makeup, dress and hair certainly look their best earlier in the day. Also getting the formals done beforehand gives us more options for backup plans if the weather is iffy (if its raining, we can try again after the ceremony). Doing formals beforehand also usually works out great because we can get some dramatic shots of you and your fiance seeing one another for the first time that day (aka the “first-look” shot).

Oh and I love shooting formals beforehand because it means I can capture all the energy and action of the cocktail hour – which is a great time to capture your guests

But all that being said, its completely up to you. Do you want to save the special first-look moment for the walk down the aisle? Do your family traditions require that you stay out of sight until the ceremony? Certainly I am used to working that way as well. About half of my weddings have their formals taken after the ceremony.

How much time do we need for formals?

I have a basic rule of thumb for formals: about 2.5 minutes for each unique group (plus of course travel time). I ask all my wedding clients to  make a list of the formal photos a month before the wedding so we can review it together and be sure we have enough time in the schedule. I start by multiplying the number of shots by 2.5 minutes and then add time for transportation larger groups or other special circumstances. Typically my wedding clients list about 12-20 formal shots and so we need about  30 – 45 minutes at a single location.

My Photography Package

Can I do whatever I want with the digital files?

Yes you certainly can. Every one of my clients gets access to all their digital files as high resolution JPEGs. They are huge in size so you can use them to print very large photographs or even posters (should you really want a giant image of your hubby). All the wedding images are also color corrected so they show their best color and brightness.

The JPEG files are delivered on a DVD and also available for download from your online wedding gallery.

Do you do those cool effects with photos?

Like any professional photographer today, I spend countless hours at the computer editing my images, but please dont ever ask me to do a photo where everything is black and white except for the flowers. That is crap. I dont do that crap.

What I do spend my time doing is making the photos as beautiful as they can be while still honoring the true beauty of the original moment. I want my digital post-production to be invisible to you. When you look at a photo I want you to say how wonderful the people look, how great that moment was and how beautiful a setting it is. I dont want people saying “wow, what a cool effect that is!” Its all about the art of making the photograph invisible and making the moment as real as it can be.

Its becoming very trendy today for photographers to heavily modify their photographs so they have unreal colors, contrast and hues that I think take away from the moment. They turn the moment into art – oftentimes beautiful art but I dont see that as my job. I have evolved over the years to adopt a slightly heavier hand with the digital manipulation – by modifying the colors, contrast and lighting but only to a degree that enhances the original moment without distracting the viewer beyond that moment to the photographic medium.

Do you shoot black and white?

Digital photography produces the best black and white images when the photos are originally photographed in color and then made black as white during digital post-production.  If you love black and white photos, you can ask me to make any photo black and white when you order a print or a wedding album.

How many photos do you take usually?

Wicked lots. No seriously I take more photos than I care to admit – but my wedding clients typically receive 700-1000 photos depending the length of the day, the number of locations, and the number of guests.

When will I get my photos?

My clients receive their photos typically 2-3 weeks after the wedding. I have language in my contact that guarantees quick delivery of your photography.

I also provide a sneak peek of your wedding photos just two days after the wedding on Facebook. If you are okay with it I will use your first names and even tag you if you’d like.

Your keepsake wedding album and DVD are delivered within 4-5 weeks of the wedding.

Can we keep our photos private and password protected?

Yes definitely. I typiclly set up a gallery to be wide open so that your family and friends can easily find the photos without bugging you for a password. But if you prefer privacy I can make your gallery require a password.

Do you shoot engagement pictures?

Yes I do but for wedding clients only.

Other Odds and Ends

Do you bring backup photo equipment?

Of course I do! I have been photographing weddings in the Boston area for more than ten years and over that time I have had a few scary moments when something goes wrong with my equipment. That has taught me a great number of lessons – one of them was that I should always keep backup equipment nearby. Today I have three professional digital cameras and I keep two with me at all times (the other in the car for an emergency). I also have my photo equipment serviced every year by the manufacturer and I clean and test it all before every wedding. I also bring backup lenses, flashes, batteries, memory cards – anything that is critical to a good wedding shoot. You dont need to worry about it.

Do you like Chicken, Beef or FIsh?

Oh man I LOVE beef, but in 2011 I started eating vegetarian so I will have to go with the FISH.

Is it okay if we share with you a piece of cake?

Are you kidding me? I love cake! Num num num num..

About Dana Giuliana
Dana Giuliana has been photographing weddings in the Boston area since 2001.

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