Why do photography prices vary so much? - You noticed, hey? Each photographer decides what they want to charge. This has little to do with how good they are. They might flatter themselves, hold out for a high price and book very few (if any!) weddings. Or they may charge too little, fill their calendar and overcommit. Don't take price as a guide - there's no substitute for doing your research and asking awkward questions to find a true professional you love. I have never tried to be the cheapest photographer around - that's just not me. I do try to be the best photographer around (I'll let you judge, of course) but what I absolutely commit to is that I'm the best you'll find by far for my price.
How can you help us feel sure? - I TOTALLY appreciate this is a big investment. Also possibly an area you aren't experienced in, and you're worried about making the right choice. Let's meet for a chat, look at sample albums and talk about your plans. Most important you can find out what I'm like and decide whether you trust me for the job. I can also offer you a free trial shoot at a park, garden or your venue. It's so helpful to actually have a quick shoot and come away with great photos of yourselves before you decide.
What should we look for? - Wedding photography is a mixture of different skills. You may not consider yourself an expert, but it's still your opinion that matters. A photographer who knows what they're doing will be happy to explain things. And ten minutes on google can do wonders. Think about five categories: technical skills, artistry, people skills, professionalism and experience. I've got loads to say here so I'm going to make it a blog post soon.
Are you a professional? - An important question. I'm a full time professional photographer. Weddings are about 80% of my work. I also do family portraits, commercial photography and special events because they come naturally. But weddings are my passion. I am insured, pay my taxes, have backup equipment and every possible precaution to make sure everything goes right. I literally have snow chains for my car.
How far do you travel? - I can go anywhere. If your wedding is an hour or so from Birmingham there's no charge. If it's much further we'll just have to add mileage and depending on times possibly accommodation. I can go overseas and have done before. We just need to make sure the surrounding dates are free for safety.
Can we customise our package? - Yes, absolutely. Usually the minimum would be the main wedding coverage at £850 but please ask if you need less. If the date's still open at short notice I'd love to help. You can change your mind before the wedding, but we need to put something on the form to make a booking.
Do you have an off peak price? - I used to offer a shorter coverage option that was only available on quieter dates. I found that people who wanted the works tended to book earlier anyway. So if the date's available, you're welcome to the £850 main wedding coverage option. No difference on any day of the year.
How many photos do we get? - Whatever you do, don't compare photographers by how many photos you get! The quality and depth of coverage throughout the day is far more important. I average about 400-600, depending on the length of the day. You'll find this is way more than you need for your album. 2000 poor quality photos is not a better deal than this!
Do we get copyright? - To be precise, as the creator of an image I hold copyright. You get all the files, edited and gorgeous ready to print, use online or do almost anything you want with. The only restriction I make is that they not be used to promote another photography business. Every now and then someone starts up a website and thinks they can pass our/your images off as their own. Which isn't cool.
How do we book you? - We just need a signed booking form and a deposit of £250. We can do this when we meet or I can send you one. If you live overseas or can't meet for any reason we can easily skype or phone to arrange things.
When should we book? - I take the first booking I can for any given date, and this can be anywhere from two years to a month in advance. It's typically about a year in advance for summer weekends, but I'd say as soon as you're ready to look at photographers you should go ahead, so you can get your first choice.
How/when do we pay the deposit and balance? - You can pay by cheque, bank transfer or by card in person or paypal online. The deposit is needed to secure the date, and the balance is due any time before the wedding. So most people prefer to pay it a week or two in advance so it's done.
What should we do before the wedding? - Let's keep in touch. I'd love to hear how your plans are going and obviously keep me up to date if anything changes. Please do add me on facebook and put my numbers in your phone now in case you need them. (0121 7455306 / 07817 002115) When you're ready we'll meet to talk details - times, locations, VIPs, groups, etc. This can be any time when you know about these things, maybe three months before the wedding? Doesn't really matter when.
Should we make a list of group photos? - If you can possibly resist, let's do that when we meet. I know lists are fun to make, but a bad list can really waste a lovely wedding reception. As you can imagine, I do have some experience of wedding receptions. Please check out my starter list and notes here.
How does the engagement shoot work? - We can do the engagement shoot whenever you're ready. Straight away if you'd like the photos soon for invites, table names or anything like that. Preferably not too late, just so we don't run out of time. We can go to your venue if possible or any garden, park, city or spot you like or that means something to you.
Can you recommend any other wedding suppliers? - Take a look at the links page here, or do ask if you're looking for anything specific.
How long should we allow for group photos? - See our advice on time for group photos in this blog post.
What can we do to help make sure we get the best pictures? - Apart from choosing the right photographer to work with you and having an engagement shoot for practise, here are a few more quick fire tips. For the getting ready part of the day, make things easier by getting things completely ready and trying everything out in advance. I mean everything, and completely ready! Sticky labels off shoes, ribbons cut out of dresses, deciding which earrings to wear. These take up time when you should be enjoying your morning and getting ready without stress.
Remember to have fun and enjoy your wedding. I can't get relaxed natural shots of you enjoying yourselves if you're not enjoying yourselves! Also, right after the ceremony, try and stick close together for a bit. Mingle together. It's lovely to see.
Try and tell me if anything unexpected is coming up. If you're bringing out a birthday cake for someone or having surprise fireworks, let me know so I can be in the right place and ready.
What happens if you’re ill? - It's a good question and all photographers are in the same situation here. The first thing to say is that I've been doing this since 2003 and have never missed a wedding, and don't intend ever to do so. I'm extremely resourceful and committed to my job. In reality, we all keep each other's numbers handy and will help in an emergency to find someone to cover the wedding.
When do we get the photos? - About two weeks after the wedding I'll have all the photos edited and looking great. I'll send you a USB or you can download them. If you want a few photos really quickly for facebook or thank yous, etc. I can quickly edit a few within a couple of days.
How does the gallery work? - I'll upload your photos to a special web gallery for you. Whilst you can put them on facebook, there are so many photos and the web gallery is designed to be fast and work well on phones, tablets and desktops. I'll send you some cards with the address and password on to give out. You're fully entitled to make your own prints, but people can also buy them there from £4, if it's more convenient for small numbers.
How are the albums designed? - If it's ok with you I'll make a draft design first and send it to you. You can send me a definitive list of numbers if you want, but the designs tend to work better if I can set the pages up first so I can make the different parts of the day fit together and include details and small photos to fit in with the story. Either way I'll send you the design for any changes you want. I'll send you the pages with each change and make sure you're completely happy before we print it.
How long do albums take? - Once the design is approved, it's about two weeks for our manufacturer to get them back to us. Before that we'll need a little time to send any changes back and forth. It's worth knowing that we get really busy for albums at christmas, and our supplier has an order deadline for christmas delivery which is usually the end of November. I will have reminded you by then!
If you have any questions at all please do let me know. If it's something other people would like to know too I can add the answer here. Many thanks!
"If you are getting married, you NEED to book Richard Shephard to be your photographer! Go on...do it! You won't be disappointed" - Matt & Lizzie, Stanway House