All about booking me as your photographer
Booking Fee? Deposit? Hold the date? What if I cancel?
I require a booking fee of €400 to confirm a wedding booking and hold that date. This is non-refundable.
No wedding date is secure until the booking fee is paid and I will continue to answer any enquiries for that date.
I don’t hold any dates in the diary. In fact, nothing is entered into the database and diary until the booking fee is received.
Why is the booking fee non-refundable? Basically it is a commitment by both parties to have me as photographer for your wedding. If anyone else enquiries about the date then they are turned away. The date is exclusively yours! So if you cancel I cannot guarantee filling that date with another wedding, which of course is a big loss of income for me.
What’s the difference between a booking fee and deposit? Not a lot really, it’s mainly that people normally perceive a deposit as refundable down payment. The word ‘booking fee’ hopefully makes this a little clearer. However the important thing to remember that if you’re asking someone to exclusively hold a date then you can’t expect to get the booking fee or deposit back. This is true for pretty much all suppliers.
So what if I cancel my booking? If you cancel within the regulatory 7 day ‘cooling off’ period then you are entitled to a refund. After that time then it’s non-refundable. As I’ve turned away other enquiries for that date then I may not be able to fill the date which is a big loss for me and my family (please don’t forget that suppliers like me are not faceless corporations with lots of money, are income is solely from what we do and we simply can’t afford a loss because of a cancellation).
What if you get another booking for the date I cancelled? Do I get the booking fee back? No, I’m afraid not. Even if the wedding is quite a way off I still will have to spend a lot of time, effort and money from that booking fee trying to get the wedding date filled. I’ve already spent a lot of my time in meeting the couple and administrating the booking. I’ve paid TAX, VAT and transaction fee’s on the money received and while I can get some of that back, there is a big chunk I won’t be able to recover.
Am I insured? What happens if someone trips on my tripod? What if my camera breaks?
I am a professional photographer. I’m also a member of the Irish Professional Photographers Association who require their members to have a lot of insurance cover in case things go wrong. So if someone does trip over my tripod then they are covered. If I accidentally set fire to the wedding venue because I moved really fast to catch a shot of Auntie Noreen and knocked over a candle, then it’s covered.
Regardless of who you book, always ask if they are insured. Quite a few venues and certainly all locations you visit will require the photographer to have insurance.
What if my camera breaks? I normally shoot with two, but actually I have three, there’s another one in my other camera bag. I’ve multiple lenses and flashes as well. I also have extra batteries and memory cards.
What if I am ill and can’t photograph your wedding?
If I am ill there are two things that happen. Firstly I will do my hardest to get a replacement to attend. If I can’t directly arrange a replacement then I have a network of other photographers who will find another photographer to attend. Again, the advantage of being part of a professional network (the IPPA).
If, after trying my hardest, to arrange cover I can’t then I’ve done all I can. I am only human and can only do my best. If things end up a disaster then insurance is there. But I can assure you – I will try my best.
When is the next payment made after the booking fee?
The balance for the minimum package (i.e. minus the booking fee) is due before or on the day. I don’t have a late cancellation clause like some photographers – that’s a risk but most people don’t cancel the wedding at the last minute without something being seriously wrong.
If you decide to order an album later (or frame, or print box etc.) then as soon as the order is signed off then the balance is paid. As soon as the full payment has been made for the product, it’s ordered.
How long after the wedding till I see the pictures?
About 4-6 weeks after the wedding. You can read more about what goes into a wedding here
Who owns the Copyright on the images
The photographer. Always. Photographs are creative works, not a capture by someone just pressing a button (contrary to popular belief). As such they are protected under copyright law automatically. Yes, you’ve hired a photographer to photograph your wedding but that doesn’t mean they images are yours. They are licensed to you. You have an agreement with the photographer to do a job and produce a body of work in a particular form. Even if the agreement is for images on a USB/Disc instead of an album.
Where images are supplied in digital format then the photographer has agreed to give them to you for your own printing, sharing with friends and family, and for your friends and family to reproduce them too. Or they may have given you just small ones for sharing on social media.
What you’re not allowed to do is share them with any commercial business, e.g. make up artist, florist, venue etc. Doing this is a ‘commercial’ arrangement and unless the photographer specifically gives permission for images to be sent to/used by anyone else then it’s really best to just put the photographer and the business in touch with each other. Otherwise you could land people in trouble.
Personally I’m happy to come to some arrangement with business who want to use my images. It can be very mutually beneficial for me and them! But it’s best for me and the business to do that talking.
Lastly, on copyright, just remember that a photographers sole income is derived from the images they take. It doesn’t come from anywhere else so please respect copyright.
I’ve heard about wedding photographers shooting in ‘RAW’. What does this mean and can I get these ‘RAW’ images?
Anyone who’s into photography a little bit will know about ‘RAW’. For those unfamiliar with this term I’ll give you a quick overview.
When a digital camera takes a picture the light captured by the sensor in the camera needs to be translated into something viewable (on your phone, computer, album, print etc.). The most common format that is widely known and supported is JPEG. A camera that puts a JPEG image directly onto a memory card is actually doing ‘processing’. It is taking the image the sensor captured and applying things like colour temperature, exposure compensation, curves, contrast, colour corrections and standardisation, white point, black point etc. (I could go on).
Most cameras are really good at making those decisions to produce a JPEG but a professional photographer cannot rely on a camera to automatically make all these decisions. More importantly a JPEG discards a lot of information captured by the sensor. It just takes what it needs to produce the JPEG and bins the rest. That’s not great for professional photography.
So what professional photographers do (and what keen amateurs do too) is tell the camera to store the actual data from the sensor in a format called RAW. This ‘RAW’ file is just that – RAW. There is no editing done at all. It’s just a copy of what the sensor recorded.
This means that all the processing the camera would do, now needs to be done later by the photographer. I won’t go into the many advantages this gives but you just need to know that it’s essential to most wedding photographers workflow. It means a lot of work for the photographer and means they need a LOT more storage as RAW files are massive but the benefits are big.
The photographer will then do all this editing (manually) and finish of the creative process that they begun when they visualised the photograph and pressed the shutter. The end of this process will result in a high quality JPEG that the client can see and can be printed. (Read more on what goes into wedding image processing here )
So can the client get these RAW images? Short answer is no. There will be very few photographers who will give the RAW images to the client. Why would they? They are unprocessed. Unfinished. Unless you are an expert in photographic editing and can plug yourself directly into the photographers brain to see what they visualised then I’m afraid they are no use to you. You are hiring the photographer to provide a service – that service is to bring his or her vision of how your wedding should look. All edited and done.
What happens to these RAW images once they’ve been processed?
Well each photographer is different. RAW files are massive and busy photographers are constantly running into storage issues and costs. Once an wedding has been photographed, the images edited, the album printed etc. They really the RAW images aren’t needed any more. After a certain period of time most photographers will discard the RAW files.
Do I show ALL the GOOD images? Are there any more?
I take a lot of pictures at weddings. All good professionals do. We tend to overshoot. It’s the nature of the event where most of the things happening are once-off and spontaneous. There isn’t time to wait, we need to be prepared and then shoot a few just in case. It’s the right thing to do.
When selecting the images for the client to see I will chose the images that look good. I will choose the images that I’m happy for the clients to see. If it’s not good enough to show you then I delete it. The only out-takes I keep are some of the couple and the family shots (where I might need to find someone who isn’t blinking!). This is something you need to trust your photographer to do!