Why should I hire you to do my wedding?
Aside from the fact that Chuck and the rest of our staff are fun people and that you’ll have new friends for life? Well, there is the fact that between us we have 40-plus years experience as photojournalists.
Our work has appeared in Newsweek, Cooking Light, Sports Illustrated and most every major metropolitan daily newspaper in the U.S. You name it, we’ve probably taken a picture of it.
Not that we’re bragging or anything, but our work has consistently won awards in competition across the country. Moreover, we are known for going the extra mile in customer service. Since most of our marketing is word-of-mouth, it’s the way we earn most of our clients.
So what is documentary wedding coverage?
It’s what we do. Documentary photography focuses heavily on capturing the emotion and essence of your wedding. Our emphasis is on candid, natural photographs captured unobtrusively, but we will shoot the traditional family groupings before or after the ceremony if you desire.
I really want a lot of posed, traditional-type coverage. Can you do that?
Hire the photographer whose work you admire and respect and can imagine for your own wedding. Just as a painter cannot “paint like Rembrandt” for just one day, we cannot “shoot like a traditionalist” for just one day.
We do take casual, posed photographs of the wedding party as part of our coverage, but if you desire a more traditional style than you see here, please look for photographers that offer that style and talk with them!
I only want pictures of my ceremony can you give me a price for just one hour of coverage?
Because we only accept one event per day, we do not reduce our standard rates, no matter how small or large the event!
Do you photograph anything besides weddings?
Between us, we also photograph families, children and fine art high school senior portraits. But separately, we also shoot national magazine work and national and local advertising campaigns.
We also shoot professional sporting events and high-end editorial work. Being able to shoot a variety of subject matter keeps us both sharp and energized. We are fulltime, professional photographers.
It’s how we pay the mortgage and feed our families. But honestly, we love photographing real, emotional events more than anything.
Do I have to choose between color and black-and-white photography?
No! Since our studio is dedicated to 100-percent digital capture we can produce any image from your wedding in color, black-and-white, sepia or watercolor effect… it’s limited only by your imagination.
Do I get to keep the negatives?
With digital photography, obviously there are no physical negatives. All images are archived in media more stable than film negatives. The digital files from your wedding can be released to you for a nominal fee.
When the digital files are released to your possession, you will also receive a letter granting you permission for unlimited personal use of the images. This includes making copies for friends and family, scanning the images and posting them on the web, or e-mailing them, and other such personal use.
Another photographer I talked to told to beware of photographers that give away their negatives. Why is that?
It’s simply a classic example of a difference in pricing philosophy. Traditionally, wedding photographers would shoot an entire wedding for a relatively low base price, then sell the preview images to the couple for either a per-print price, or as an entire collection. The negatives were stored and cataloged for a predetermined amount of time, during which the couple could order reprints and enlargements as often as they liked. At the end of the storage period, the negatives were either destroyed or offered to the couple for a price.
We have a different pricing philosophy, in that we do not base our income on reprint orders. If the couple wishes, We will store the original files for them for a specific amount of time an we will charge our normal rates for reprints and enlargements, most couples choose to take possession of their files for a small fee.
We will share the rights to the photos with the couple from the moment the files are released. This means the couple may make as many copies as they wish for personal and family use, and that we may use the same images for promotional or advertising reasons. This information if further explained in the Wedding Photography Agreement.
Will you post the pictures online?
If you choose, your images will also be posted in a private, password-protected online gallery so that any of your friends and family may order what they like.
You aren’t stuck in the middle, keeping up with proof books covered with Post-It notes, collecting money, arranging printing and keeping orders straight.
How much time should I build into my wedding day time line for pictures?
That is entirely up to you. Aside from shooting traditional group shots, you won’t need to make any special time allowances. For each group shot you want, allow five minutes per group, once everyone is present and accounted for. The only exception is if you would like some special portraits of you and your new husband sharing your first few minutes as man and wife. The more time you build in for this, the better the pictures will be.
How many pictures will you take?
As many as it takes to completely document your day! Hundreds, usually. We average between 3,500 and 4,500 but at one amazingly, intricate, fun and passionate wedding, we shot 7,500.
We shoot whatever it takes to capture your day. We generally have at least two photographers shooting your wedding.
Some weddings are so action-packed, we spend the entire time shooting. Other weddings are more laid-back and casual, and we shoot at a different pace.
Based on the energy level of the crowd, the family dynamics and the overall ambiance, we shoot as much as we feel necessary to capture the real emotions of the day.
Do I get a complete set of them?
We do edit them. We try to the obvious misfires – mom’s blinking, an image that doesn’t flatter you, that sort of thing – weeded out. We also edit it down to a manageable number, usually around 800 images. We have learned offering more than that can get overwhelming. We want to give you the best – where every image makes your heart swell.
The images that remain after the edit are assembled in an Image Magazine. An image magazine contains all your images, with the time stamped underneath, providing a seamless time line of your day. We have samples in the studio for you to view, or we can FedEx an example to you.
How long will I have to wait after my wedding to see my pictures?
It is always our first priority to get the photos ready and online. As you can imagine, with the number of pictures we are talking about, it normally takes a week to ten days.
Is a bridal portrait session included?
Generally, a bridal session costs extra. These are some of our favorite sessions. Some brides choose to shoot their bridal portraits after the big day, so we can do some fun things and poses with the gown.
We can also shoot the bridal portrait before your wedding; some families like to display the portrait at the reception. It’s up to you.
Just so you know: Our portraits have won national awards. Not that we’re bragging or anything.
How long will you stay at the wedding?
It completely depends on your wedding. We are there as long as needed to capture your day. But to give you a rule of thumb, we generally average around eight hours. We usually arrive as everyone begins preparing and stay as long as you need us. Extra coverage is available by the hour, and it’s much cheaper if you book it before the wedding.
What happens, if – heaven forbid – you (my photographer) dies before our wedding day?
We have backup plans… and we have backups to the back up plans…. We also have a network of some of the finest photographers in the country. Should the unthinkable happen, our office staff has a long list of people to call and will provide a photographer who will do an excellent job for you. We would not leave you hanging, Eagle Scout’s honor.
Why is there such a huge price difference between photographers?
Let us answer your question with a question. Of all the vendors you hire for your wedding, which one will you spend the most time with on your wedding day? Your photographer! You need to hire a professional you can trust, one who makes you feel comfortable. (If you, or anyone in your wedding party is uncomfortable, it will show in the pictures.)
Choose someone who is as excited about your wedding as you are. Look for someone whose images speak to your heart. If we aren’t those photographers, there are no hard feelings. It’s your day, and everything should go your way.
That said, there are practical matters to consider. A lot of photographers, especially inexperienced ones, will give you a lowball price. This is where the old saying that you get what you pay for can have heart-breaking consequences.
Many photographers who went into business when we did are no longer in business. (In fact, we see a lot of photographers who don’t last more than a couple of years.) We have probably like 50+ years combined experience, we know what to expect, and we know what we’re doing.
We may be at your wedding for 8 to 10 hours, but we will invest – at minimum – 80 hours in pre- and post-production on your images and albums. Photography is our calling, and we give you the same attention whether your wedding is a small intimate affair, or a 12-hour gala with a cast of thousands.
How much do you cost?
That is completely up to what you want. It completely comes down to you and your needs. We have completely done away with packages. It is your wedding. So why should we tell you what you need? We can build you whatever you need.
Do you travel to shoot weddings?
Absolutely! We’ve photographed weddings across the country and around the world. We live in North Carolina, but will go anywhere. We can work out the logistics when you book us. In fact when we travel we don't charge "travel fees" we just charge our normal rates plus expenses.
I think I want to hire you, but I’m still looking. Will you give me right of first refusal if anyone else calls for my date?
We wish we could.
Until an agreement is signed and a retainer paid, we have to work on a first-come, first-served basis, and hoping your date remains available.
If you think we are the right fit, please call, especially if your wedding is in the spring or fall, because those dates are the first to go. Because we are a team, we can do two weddings per day, so that we can focus completely on you, your friends and family.
What type of equipment do you use?
We use the latest Canon professional 35mm digital camera bodies and lenses.
Do you bring back-up equipment to your assignments?
Of course, we have a back-up for every piece of equipment we own.
Can you bring your camera to our consultation and just snap some shots of us?
That is considered a portrait session. And we do include an engagement session with every wedding. Largely because we ant to get to know you better. But in the meantime, if you would like to schedule a portrait session, please call and we’ll set up a date and time to meet. Or visit our portrait site linked from the splash page at www.chuckeaton.net.
How far in advance should I book you?
We recommend securing your photographer at least 12 months in advance, particularly if your wedding is in a “prime” month (in the Southeast, April-May and September-October are the busiest months.) July and August dates are less popular, as are the winter months – these dates can be booked 6-9 months in advance (at the latest). If you don’t have that much time, call us anyway – we may still have your date open, or we may have had a cancellation.
Ok, I love your work and I want to hire you. Now what do I do?
Just let us know. We can talk about your needs and we will send you an agreement and you’re your album options. We require a retainer of one-half of the package price at the time we sign the Agreement, and the balance, plus all applicable sales taxes must be paid in full 30 days prior to the wedding date.
Once we have signed the Agreement and the retainer is paid, your date is booked.