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Questions? I have answers!

Feel free to browse through the questions that I am most often asked by my wedding clients. Grab a coffee or maybe a glass of wine and enjoy a good read - handy if you're in the early stages of your planning, you will hopefully learn more about what goes into wedding photography and what you should be looking for when meeting photographers. And I always love to have this conversation in person...

We've just started looking for our wedding photographer and it's so confusing! How and where to start? 

I know! I remember looking for my own wedding photographer and finding it all kind of baffling! My advice:
- Ask recently married friends and family if they have any recommendations. Google your wedding venue + wedding photographer and make a note of images that you love
- Check out websites of different photographers and try to narrow your search down to your favorite 2 or 3
- Find out if they're available on your date and ask to see a full gallery of a recent wedding (ideally at your venue or at a similar venue). Can you imagine yourself in the images? If these were your wedding pictures would you love them? Do you feel like there's enough coverage of things that are important to you? Do the couple look happy and relaxed or do they seem stiff/awkward? Do the smiles look real in the family formals? How is the reception lighting? 
- Chat on the phone or meet up with your favorite photographer to make sure you'll feel comfortable with them being in the room when you're getting dressed and interacting with your family and friends
- Make sure you're 110% happy with your choice and then book them quick!

Who will actually be taking the pictures at my wedding?

Me - Leah Haydock - everytime!

There may or may not be a second photographer and/or an assistant depending on the coverage you select but I will be the lead photographer for your wedding. 

How many images will I have from my wedding?

I usually take at least 30-60 shots an hour as I'm documenting the day. If you add in a second photographer then you'll be looking at almost double this. I'm going to edit out the images that don't work for a variety of reasons - eyes closed, a guest's flash fired and overexposed etc  but rest-assured you will have full and comprehensive coverage of your wedding! If you really want a number ;) then most couples receive ~800 images of their wedding.

How do we go about booking you?

It's pretty easy! Check on my availability for your wedding date (email me leah@leahhaydock.com or use the contact page) and if I'm free we can arrange to chat about your wedding plans. Each year I get around 500 inquiries for the 25 available dates so reach out as soon as possible. I'll send over a contract which you review, sign and send back to me with your retainer check (the only way to hold a date is with a signed contract and retainer) and then you're good to go.

We'll then schedule your engagement pictures (you'll get a helpful document with tips and suggestions about what to expect/what to wear) and I'll also share a list of awesome wedding vendors. A few months before your wedding you'll complete a homework document where you can tell me all about your family/VIPs and other information so on your wedding day you can relax knowing that everything photography related is taken care of. 

We don't know if we need/want to take engagement pictures. What do you think?

I'm a huge fan of scheduling an engagement session. You get amazing pictures of the two of you at this happy time in your life (excellent holiday/birthday gifts for the next year!) but more importantly we'll spend a little time getting to know each other. Although I have a strict "no-drinking for Leah" rule when I'm at your wedding, it's a little more relaxed at an engagement session. We'll likely start off with a cocktail (or a coffee!) before I start photographing you. It's all very relaxed, no awkward posing, just enough direction to make you both look absolutely amazing. Even if one or both of you dislike having your picture taken I promise you'll love these pictures! It also means that when I show up on your wedding day I'll feel like an old friend with a camera plus you've seen how you'll look in the pictures so you'll be super relaxed!

Do we get to see all of the pictures? Will they all be Photoshopped or retouched? 

Each photographer has a different workflow and editing style - that's why it's so important to look at a full wedding and sample album not just the best 5 images on their website.

Here's my usual way of working:

- I shoot RAW files (not compressed and retain the maximum amount of data) on the wedding day (everything is shot to two cards so in the unlikely event of a memory card corrupting I have an exact duplicate right there)

- My objective is always to get the image right in the camera and not "fix" with photoshop - so I'm looking to get good skin tones, good exposures (I want to see the detail in the wedding dress and not have a blown-out white)

- Once home, no matter how late it is, all of your images will be downloaded onto multiple hard drives with back-up copies (this can take a few hours!). I'll then carefully cull through the images deleting duplicate shots, blinking/open mouths, flash misfires and any unflattering expressions so you see the very best images of your day.

- Professional Adobe software will be used to carefully process each image for color, contrast, density, I may also tweak the white balance and use a little sharpening. Some images might be cropped for maximum impact.

- It's not feasible to retouch all 800+ images (unless you're happy to wait 6 months to see your pictures!) however I'll select around 25 key images (plus any print orders and images that will go into your album) and these will get special attention. Minor blemish removal and subtle skin softening for example. If a high resolution file is printed for a large gallery wrap, every pore will be visible so a very subtle airbrushing goes a long way!

- Things I try to avoid - weird trends and fads that will date your photographs for example the "vintage" filter which makes everything (the dress, the sky, your skin) yellow. I also can't abide excessive camera tilt as it makes you feel seasick when you're looking at the pictures!

- Advanced retouching - digital slimming, removal/additional of people or objects etc is available for an additional charge.

Can we give you a list of "must-have" shots, I saw a great list on wedding forum of 500 must-have pictures?

I work closely with my couples to get a short list of names for family formal pictures so I can call people by name, be aware of divorces, know that Grandma can only stand for a few minutes and that's really helpful. If there are other groups of people outside of immediate family (maybe high school friends) that you'd like pictures of then I suggest having one of your wedding party get them all together at a prearranged time. 

Weddings are wonderfully unscripted events and it's impossible to anticipate all of the real moments that will happen. Rather than work from a Pinterest list of other people's wedding pictures it's nice to have your own unique pictures that other people will pin! Pinterest is awesome for inspiration but I'd recommend you delete your wedding boards the week before the wedding - you don't want to look back and compare! 

Can other people take photos during the wedding?

Of course!!! It's a celebratory event and I wouldn't dream of insisting that no other cameras are used. I've been known to take a picture with a guest's camera once in a while! If someone's shooting the formal pictures over my shoulder my biggest concern is always wandering eyes so I might politely ask them to step aside so that I can give you the very best pictures! Also - if we have time in the day for some beautiful relaxed bride and groom images then I find it's easier if we're alone as you'll be more relaxed and we can minimize the time away from your guests. Some couples will put a note in the program requesting that no photos are taken during the ceremony - it's your call - but there's nothing worse than having an arm with a cell phone sticking out in the aisle or the beep of a little point and shoot during your vows....more about unplugged weddings here

What about back up equipment and plans?

Yup - I have a full set of back up equipment - back up camera body, lenses and wireless strobes - couldn't imagine shooting a wedding without back up equipment. I am a member of the PPA professional photography association and I network with other photographers in the event of an emergency on your wedding day.

Do you charge overtime?

Unless you've booked petite/elopement coverage, my rates provide comprehensive coverage on the full day of your wedding. So I'll be there to capture you getting ready (that's where I'll get the beautiful detail shots of the rings, dress, shoes, the excited anticipation) to the ceremony, as much time as you like for relaxed wedding party and couples pictures, and then through to all of the important events at the reception. The photographs of your wedding day should tell a story and I can't imagine asking you to choose between a 4 hour or a 6 hour story.

Having said that, everything always runs late at weddings and so if you really try to start on time it will make for a more relaxed day. You don't want to have to rush the photographs before the ceremony because your hairdresser took longer then the 2 hours you allotted to do the hair of 16 bridesmaids!

I used to stay until the very end of the wedding but the last hour is usually the same people doing the same moves on the dancefloor just looking a little redder and sweatier as the night goes on. I stay for a full hour of open dancing (which gives you a LOT of dancing pictures) and then I'll slip away to allow you to enjoy the rest of your night. Rather than have another 50 pictures of that one dancing groomsman who's had a couple too many cocktails you can rest easy that I'm heading home to safely back up all of your pictures. 

What will you wear?

My favorite neon orange and pink blazer? No seriously - I aim to blend in as a conservatively dressed guest. Usually event-appropriate black clothing with flats as I'm on my feet and moving around sometimes quickly and I want to be unobtrusive and professional.

Can I see an entire wedding from start to finish?

Yes!! In fact, you should insist on this. You want to see the type of coverage and finished images that you'll be receiving from your photographer. Pay attention to the wedding dress in the images - can you see the detail or is it overexposed and a blown-out white blob? Do the images look consistent - can you imagine them in an album telling a story? How is the reception lighting? Most importantly, try to imagine these are your wedding pictures, how do you feel? 

More questions and answers coming soon....email me at leah@leahhaydock.com if you have a burning question that you just can't wait to find out about....