Wedding Photography

Simplifying

Let's Be Honest for a Second... 

Full day coverage...print release...RAW files...edited photos...second shooter...As you search for the right wedding photographer, we know you'll come face to face with words like these and wondered what do these things really mean? You're not alone!

One of the things we really love about being wedding photographers is getting to connect with couples who are planning for this hugely significant day in their lives, and helping them to better navigate through the sometimes confusing world of wedding planning. Especially the world of wedding photography!

For most couples, this is the first time they are planning a wedding. It's the first time they become exposed to some of these "buzz words" and it can be a little daunting making sense of it all. We put together this guide to walk you through and make it easy to understand all you need to know when searching for a photographer. 

In this article

•  Let's simplify confusing buzzwords
• Let's answer frequently asked questions
• Let's make finding your dream wedding photographer easy!

Candid vs. Posed

Candid photos are taken "in the moment" with the photographer not doing anything to control what's going on. These are incredibly popular as they contribute to really authentic, raw, and sometimes super emotional pictures at weddings. Posed photos are when the photographer takes more control and has people stand in certain places. 

Many wedding photographers brand themselves as being one or the other, when in reality most are in the middle. We love capturing candids on wedding days, but also help guide our couples when it comes to portraits, and of course family & bridal party photos are a little more hands on. 

Some photographers only talk about being into candids or just into posing, can anyone do both?

Timeless, Light & Airy, Dark & Moody

Photo editing styles allow wedding photographers to differentiate their art from one another. While there are a ton of different approaches, most of them boil down into these 3 categories. Let's break them down for you:

- Timeless. Photos edited in this style tend to look the most "natural", using real to life colors. In short, pictures look like they were taken on our planet, as we'd see them through our own eyes.
- Light & Airy. In photography terms, this style uses "overexposed" images to create a very bright looking image. This means that there will be minimal shadows, and oftentimes the sky will be "blown out" (meaning you don't see color or clouds, just white). This style is often great for capturing really happy and joyous photos. 
- Dark & Moody. Photos in this style are typically "underexposed", meaning they come out darker than normal. These pictures are best for capturing the "mood" of a day.

I keep reading in wedding blogs to choose a photographer with a editing style I like, but I don't even know what I like!

RAW files vs. JPEG

Professional photographers take pictures in what's called "RAW file format". These end up being really large files that are most suitable for photo editing (because they retain a lot more image detail), but not good for much else. As someone purchasing a wedding photography service, you do not need RAW files because you won't be able to use them for anything. Your photographer should provide high resolution JPEG images, which retain a ton of quality (more than enough to take a picture and blow it up on a highway billboard!) - which are also easier for you to store because they have smaller file sizes. 

I heard about "Raw files" - do I need these?

Over the past four years, we've been fortunate to have had the chance to document a ton of incredible weddings for couples all over the place! We've been featured in both big and small publications like The New York Times and Lehigh Valley Style, and have had a whole lot of fun in the process. We talk with many new couples throughout the year. And throughout this journey of ours, we've been constantly surprised by by how confusing many vendors make this experience for couples. That’s not our style. We don’t want to sell you on anything. We want to simplify everything for you and give you the stress-free wedding planning process you deserve! We want to guide you towards the perfect wedding photographer for your wedding; even if it’s not us. So let’s keep going!

Why are we giving away this info?

Before we go any further...

Engagement Sessions

Engagement photos are really what you make of them. The cheesy engagement photo shoots tend to involve a lot of unnecessary props and don't feel authentic to the couple. Those are probably the types of photos your friend is talking about!

We really love engagement sessions because (maybe most importantly), it gives couples the opportunity to see how we work, and meet with us before their wedding day. This really helps ease couples into feeling more comfortable and confident in front of the camera, which is a much better feeling when the wedding rolls around than feeling anxious and stressed out. More than that though, good engagement photos will be a reflection of who you are as a couple. Incorporating locations special to you is one simple way to make them awesome, or doing something together (like hiking or going to a coffee shop) that feels natural to you as a couple. 

My best friend told me engagement photos are really cheesy...do they have to be?

Wedding Timelines

We work with our fair share of couples who would describe themselves as very laid back and go with the flow types of people, so the idea of a timeline feels like the exact opposite. While it's definitely true that timelines provide a little bit of structure to your day, a great timeline will take into consideration that you want opportunities to chill and enjoy your day. The most important things that really need to be scheduled out are portrait times - especially when you need other people like family or your bridal party - to be somewhere for photos.

When working with wedding photographers (like us), the photographer should be able to help you with figuring out timing so you're able to get the things you need (like specific photos), while also making sure you're day doesn't just feel like a series of timed events.

My friend told me her wedding timeline made it feel like she couldn't enjoy being at her own wedding...does it have to be that way?

Print Release

A "print release" means that you can use the images you've been given by your photographer for any personal use. This means you can use them on social media, share them with friends & family, and you can also take the photos and have them printed anywhere if you want. 

The only thing a print release doesn't give you is the copyright of the images, as well as an ability to use the photos for commercial purposes. Commercial use would be using the photos for ads or marketing. The copyright is retained by the photographers so they can use the photos for their portfolio, website, social media, marketing, etc.

In most wedding photography packages, I see the term "print release" - what's that mean?

"We followed their lead since this was our first time getting photos done and they made the whole process feel so effortless! They made us feel comfortable and like we could just be ourselves. And the photos reflect that - they came out SO GOOD! We can’t stop looking at them!" - Kim

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Are you planning?

How do you handle the wedding day?

Some photographers are really hands off during the day and focus strictly on candid moments. Others may be more hands on and set up more posed shots. There is no right or wrong here, but you'll want to make sure your photographers style aligns with what you are wanting from your day. 

What is your turnaround time?

Turnaround time refers to the amount of time it takes for your photos to be delivered to you after the wedding. A ton of things influence how long it might take, and honestly anything is fine so long as it's clearly understood how long it will take (and this should be put in a contract!). 

10 questions to ask...

to help find the perfect wedding photographer!

Now that we've simplified what some of the confusing buzzwords in the wedding photography world mean. Let's move on to 10 questions you should ask ANY wedding photographer to help find the perfect one for your wedding. This extra guide is our FREE gift to you! Now take this guide and allow it to make the rest of your wedding planning experience easier and stress free!

Will you be our photographer(s)?

Some photography studios send out associate shooters to document your wedding and you might not even speak to them before your big day. Other photo studios are run by 1 or 2 people who always shoot the wedding. Both can be good options, but it's really important to know who will be with you when the time comes. 

How do you handle the unexpected on a wedding day?

Let's face it, wedding days (even with great planning beforehand) can still be unpredictable from time to time. A photographers ability to adapt to changes is actually one of the most important qualities they will need to have. This is a good question because it will help you understand more about the photographers personality - are they going to go with the flow of things, or are they more uptight? 

What does the process of booking you look like?

It's good to know what's involved to move forward and book the photographer you've chosen. There isn't really a "standard", but many photographers have made this as easy as possible and use a dedicated booking platform to send out contracts and invoices so everything can be handled online. Another good thing to go along with this is to ask how much the deposit is - again, there isn't a standard, some people require 25%, others 50%, and others still might just charge a simple number regardless of package like $1,000. 

Do you have business insurance & backup equipment?

These are honestly things we wish didn't have to be asked, but a ton of photographers (especially newbies) don't always have the appropriate insurance (both an actual policy and backup gear). Without these 2, we would highly suggest NOT hiring a photographer. Why? 

Business insurance is needed for a ton of reasons. The most important for you is that many wedding venues require their vendors to show proof of insurance (called a Certificate of Insurance - COI). Without this, venues won't let them work there. 

Backup equipment is important because if something fails (like their camera), they should have gear they can quickly swap to, to keep shooting your wedding. Some photographers skip out on getting backup equipment because it can be pretty expensive, but it's really risky.

What happens if you're unable to shoot my wedding for some unexpected reason?

In our experience, this question has become more popular thanks to the pandemic, but it's a good one even in a post-pandemic world!

Having an idea of what happens if your photographer is unable to be there for you is a great thing to talk about upfront. Typically, a photographer will intend to be there, but sometimes serious things happen between booking & your wedding date - like serious illness, even death. What happens then? 

How this is handled will vary from photographer-to-photographer. Some photo studios have a team of people they can pull on (we do!), others may just result in a flat out cancellation. 

Why did you get into wedding photography?

While you can ask a lot of questions about a photographer's service, if you're loving everything so far and really connect with their photography style, asking this question can go a long way to tell you more about what led them to wedding photography.

Can you tell us some more about yourself?

While you definitely want to go with a wedding photographer that has a great portfolio and such, getting to know them a little more personally will also make for a better experience. Remember, you'll be around this person pretty closely throughout your wedding day, and you want to be able to get along and connect - it makes the day so much better and stress free!

How do you handle lighting on the day?

Every photographer is different in how they decide to approach shooting weddings. Some will rely exclusively on natural light, while others will use flash throughout the entire day. Some might even use a light that is on all of the time. All of these end up having very distinct look,  working styles, and gear requirements. We'd say most wedding photographers, though, end up falling somewhere in the middle - using natural light when it already looks great, and adding in a flash especially when it's too dark (like in a reception hall). 

Recent Adventures

Check out some of the recent weddings & Sessions we've photographed!

Wedding at Philadelphia Water Works

Couple's Session at hickory run state park

Wedding at grounds for sculpture

- Danielle + Conner

We found Jess and Chris via social media and loved the style that they were able to bring to weddings. They are not cookie-cutter photographers, they create an experience through their photos that we will be able to relive for years to come! They made us feel comfortable through the engagement session and the wedding itself. They were attentive to our specific thoughts, ideas, and needs. My wife is literally already excited to use them for our future family photos. Worth every penny.

"Literally The Best Photographers You Could Choose.”

Reach out today to see how we can make that happen!

You deserve an amazing wedding experience!

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We love getting to connect with couples wanting amazing photos to commemorate their love. 

Whether your already in the middle of planning for your big day or just getting started - we're open books and open ears, happy to help you and show you how photography can compliment your day - beautifully!