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1. What are the advantages of hiring a professional?
2. What is the first question I should ask the photographer?
3. Shouldn't I be asking "What do I get and how much does it cost?"
4. So, how much does wedding photography cost?
5. How much time will the photographer spend at my wedding?
6. Digital or Film?
7. What are proofs?
8. Do I get to keep the proofs?
9. What about getting an album?
10. Who chooses the pictures that go in the album?
11. Should we get plastic covered pages to protect the pictures?
12. What about black and white photography?
13. What technical details in sample photographs should I watch out for?
14. My mom likes soft focus pictures, but I want sharp photos?
15. Everybody says to go with photojournalism. Is it the best?
16. I just hate posed pictures - I always look so stiff and unnatural in them.
17. What sort of balance between posed shots and candids should I get? What about the trend of photojournalism?
18. Should we do the formals before or after the ceremony?
19. Suppose I want more copies in two years?
20. Shouldn't my photographer have a back up in case he/she is sick on my wedding day?
21. Some photographers ask that no one else take pictures during the formal photography. Is that reasonable?
22. I want to make copies of my photos. Does my photographer really own the copyright of his/her pictures? Do I still have to pay the photographer if I make the copies myself at a copy shop?
1. What are the advantages of hiring a professional?

A professional photographer will capture your most precious moments in both an artful and technically perfect way. He will deliver crisp, clean, beautiful images, which you will be able to cherish for a lifetime.

A professional photographer will also be timely - arriving at your wedding promptly and appropriately attired, and will get your wedding photographs to you on time.

He will use only state-of-the-art professional equipment. Matt Flynn Photography has the right equipment for photographing your wedding. My cameras and back-up equipment are all Nikon professional cameras with the finest Nikon lenses.
Having attended many weddings, an experienced wedding photographer will be at ease at your wedding. A professional uses only a professional color laboratory that is in the business of meeting high professional standards of print quality. And, a professional is used to working with individuals, couples, and groups to make the formal photography go smoothly. When you think about the cost of photography, remember that the photographer's fee is only part of your investment: You, your parents, your extended family and your friends will be investing time with the photographer during your wedding. Don't waste time on your wedding day with a photographer who won't produce results you’ll love!

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2. What is the first question I should ask the photographer?

Once you have established that the photographer is available for your date and location, you will want to ask, "If we select your company, who will be the photographer covering our wedding?" Some photography studios hire contract or part-time help, weekend warriors, or even amateur photographers. Matt Flynn is the master photographer, he will personally capturing your images.

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3. Shouldn't I be asking "What do I get and how much does it cost?"

Even shopping for shoes or furniture you wouldn't ask that question until you find the style and quality you like. After you have looked through a photographer's portfolio - seeing candids, formals and illustrative pictures, you will know if this photographer has the technique, style and spirit to be the eyes through which will see your wedding day. Of course, you should determine if the photographer is within your budget, give or take a little, but what you really want from photography is memories and feeling. Look for an established and reliable photographer whose work moves you, whose technical quality is tops. If you find a photographer who makes you happy, you will never regret your investment, whatever the dollar cost. When we have invested in items that will be with us for the rest of our lives, our satisfaction has been highest when we have paid that extra bit for the best quality.

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4. So, how much does wedding photography cost?

Professional photography prices range from $950 to $10,000, and even more! Photographs (and maybe video) will be your only permanent record of the day. You want good photographs (or you would not have read so far), so be prepared to spend a minimum of $1,500 for a small wedding on a weekday or Sunday, and $2,000 and up for Saturdays. Also, for custom enlargements, an 8x10 reprint will cost $18 to $35 each. Expect better photographers to charge the higher rates. If you are looking for a bargain and shop via phone for pricing, you are following a recipe for poor to mediocre photography. My research indicates that photography runs between nine and fifteen percent of the total wedding budget. When couples value photography highly and are on a limited budget, they will spend up to 30% of their wedding budget on photography.

Most brides initially underestimate the cost of photography by 50% - in other words, you will probably spend at least twice as much as you budgeted, unless you have advice from a wedding coordinator who is familiar with prices in your area.

Keep in mind that there are only so many weekends for weddings in a year, so a true wedding professional can only work a limited number of days. If your budget is too small, you will be choosing from the second and third tiers of wedding photographers.

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5. How much time will the photographer spend at my wedding?

That is really up to you. You can have the photographer meet you where you are getting dressed, and keep taking pictures until you leave the reception. Or you may just want a few hours of photography, with a few formal photographs and some pictures of the ceremony. My typical coverage starts two hours before the ceremony and ends after the bouquet, garter and cake.

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6. Digital or Film?

This used to be a cut and dry answer….film. Early digital photographers would buy a $1,000 digital camera and shoot away, not using any film for backup. The image quality was mediocre at best. …until around 2002.

With new advancements in technology, digital cameras now actually capture images more crisply and clearly, and have more detail in them than film. I would put any high-end professional digital capture up against a medium format negative any day. A high-end digital capture will always win. It is expensive for a photographer to take the leap into a high-end digital shooting setup. The cost of a high-end digital camera set up necessary for high-quality pictures is over $20,000. The benefits of a digital photographer now outweigh the benefits of a traditional film photographer. Digital quality exceeds film-capturing quality, digital proofs can be viewed online and/or on CD, and there is virtually no difference in a digital file captured in color, then printed in black and white. This is not true with color film.

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7. What are proofs?

Fifty years ago, photographers presented clients with proof pictures printed on special paper; images would last for a few weeks and then fade. Now, color proofs are made with the identical paper and chemistry as final pictures. However, only on final pictures can you have retouching and cropping. Some photographers use the term "images" or "originals" in order to avoid the confusing word "proofs." Many photographers are now using video "proofs." That means that you initially view the images on a computer or television screen. You then order from the screen (or from a videotape of the images) and have true prints in your hand a few weeks later. As digital printers improve, you might have your images the same day you order. Caution - Currently, the color and longevity of desktop prints does not match professional prints from a pro-photo wedding lab.

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8. Do I get to keep the proofs?

Some photographers include the proofs in the price of their photography, others sell them separately. Some keep the proofs, putting them in the final album or simply not selling them. When you first see your proofs, you take them home and keep them for a few weeks. I recommend you order your album and reprints quickly - your photographer will have ways of helping you to avoid procrastinating. The price list should state explicitly the price of the proofs, which may be sold either individually or only as a complete set. Matt Flynn Photography provides packages including proof albums that are yours to keep.

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9. What about getting an album?

Some photographers offer "Packages," each package having a set number of hours, images, and certain number of final pictures in an album. It might be better to get a package that includes an album that the photographer will assemble completely, because most of us never get around to putting our pictures in albums if we have to do it ourselves. Consider ordering parents' albums too. If your parent’s vision is less than perfect, they would really appreciate getting an album with large photographs so that the faces are easy to see!

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10. Who chooses the pictures that go in the album?

After looking at all the proofs, the bride and groom usually decide what goes in the album. The photographer may let you specify the sequence and size of the pictures, so that the album really shows the wedding the way you want to see it, with important images enlarged, and related candids grouped together. Some photographers will suggest a layout for your album or design the album with you, using proofs or computer images to show you what the final album will look like. You will benefit from the photographer's eye and feel for the wedding. You will probably let your parents decide what pictures go in their album.

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11. Should we get plastic covered pages to protect the pictures?

Plastic gets in the way of the image. It creates reflections and lessens the clarity. A professional lacquer coating on the prints provides protection, but does not get in the way. Lacquer coating (spray) costs more, so when comparing photographers' prices, be sure to note if lacquer spray is included.

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12. What about black and white photography?

Some couples want black and white pictures because they like the classic quality. Also, there has been a stylistic return to black and white (in advertising and weddings) with a contemporary or fashion look to it.

For you, this is purely a matter of preference. In my opinion, there is a magical quality in black and white images that cannot be matched with color images. Matt Flynn Photography can provide whatever mixture of color, black and white or sepia toned images you prefer.

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13. What technical details in sample photographs should I watch out for?

Lighting quality is an important ingredient in superior photographs. The light in photographs should be natural and flattering, so that the pictures look three-dimensional. Watch out for flattened faces, harsh reflections off of cheeks and foreheads, and dark shadows directly behind or next to the subjects.

Also, look for a variety in subject size - a mix of distant, medium and close-up pictures. Even with groups, lighting and posing should be interesting. Note the photographer’s skill with different styles – from formal and traditional shots to candid or photojournalistic shots. Probably most of your album and your parents' albums will consist of traditional and candid images, which capture the bride and groom’s personality.

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14. My mom likes soft focus pictures, but I want sharp photos?

Except for mood shots and some portraits, pictures should be sharp. You should be able to count the threads in the veil. But a soft filter can be flattering in a close-up photo. A soft filter can soften other unwanted details that are not important to the photo. You might tell your photographer that you want a few pictures done soft-focus and the rest sharp. Then, when you get the proofs, you have your choice for each pose.

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15. Everybody says to go with photojournalism. Is it the best?

There are many stories and vignettes at a wedding: Bride getting ready, ring bearer being coaxed to walk up the aisle, the bride's mother watching the father-daughter dance. Moments like these, when photographed, are Wedding Photojournalism.
But capturing moments does not tell the bigger stories: Relationships and Fantasy. A posed loving photograph of the bride and her grandmother captures the relationship, and this is a photo that will have meaning for generations. The bride and groom in an idyllic setting has that fantasy quality that we all seek.

Anybody with a camera can take a formal photograph or a photojournalistic photograph. A good formal photographer evokes and photographs the genuine expressions of relationships, and makes everyone look their best. A good pictorial photographer creates your fantasy images, believable fantasy images. A good photojournalist captures decisive moments to tell a story. Don't you want all three at your wedding? Find the photographer who can do all three, exceptionally well.

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16. I just hate posed pictures - I always look so stiff and unnatural in them.

I know what you mean. I had posed pictures of me taken for my high-school yearbook. I still cringe when I think about how awful they were. However, the person behind the camera was probably given minimal training and had no real interest in photography. If you have gotten this far in these FAQ, you are probably going to be looking at professional photographers, who will be far more skilled.

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17. What sort of balance between posed shots and candids should I get? What about the trend of photojournalism?

This is also a matter of taste, combined with necessity. Great wedding photography can be done with no formal posed pictures at all (wedding photojournalism). But, there may be many people and combinations of guests that will never be captured unless the photographer deliberately gathers them in one spot for a picture. (Whether the picture looks posed or natural depends on the photographer.) When planning your wedding coverage with your photographer, draw up a list of "must get" photos, such as college roommates, kids from your old neighborhood, a four generation picture, and so on. If you want a large catalog of specified pictures, then expect your photographer to spend more time doing those, and less time doing candids and wedding photojournalism.

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18. Should we do the formals before or after the ceremony?

Some couples think it is bad luck to see each other before the ceremony. If following this tradition is important to you, all of the photos of the bride and groom together will be done afterwards, but solo shots can be done before. However, getting all the formals done at the beginning has several advantages: make-up, clothing and flowers are fresh, and you can carefully budget time for formals. (And, if your ceremony ends after dark, the only time for natural light pictures of the two of you will be before the ceremony!) Couples who feel formal photos are important will set aside one or two, or even three hours for formals, which finish up about half an hour before the ceremony begins. If you do formals immediately after the ceremony, guests have to wait before they can greet you, and members of the bridal party will have to pose for pictures rather than mingle.

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19. Suppose I want more copies in two years?

Your photographer should keep images on file for a specified number of years so that you can call or write any time and order more prints. Or, he/she may offer to sell or give them to you after a certain period.

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20. Shouldn't my photographer have a back up in case he/she is sick on my wedding day?

That would be ideal, but consider the plight of the backup photographer who has to turn down weddings just in case she/he is needed for yours? Professionals are part of a network of photographers, and do have many people they can call in the event of an emergency. No doubt as your wedding approaches, you will have many far more significant worries. Let your photographer manage this problem.

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21. Some photographers ask that no one else take pictures during the formal photography. Is that reasonable?

Yes. If the photographer is trying to work quickly through a series of formal pictures, a snap-shooter might slow the process. A problem arises when there are several cameras aimed at a formal group - the subjects will be looking at different lenses. The diverted attention will ruin the professional's picture. Or, if the professional is using a light-sensing trigger device ("slave") on a second flash, other flashes will trigger this flash, ruining the pictures [that you are paying for] and wasting battery power. There are many other reasons why a professional might ask others to refrain from picture taking during formals. On the other hand, many guests find snapping a few pictures a pleasant part of attending weddings, so it should not be a big deal for your professional to be relaxed and let people snap away when formals are over. Ideally, guests should show respect for the bridal party and photographer and put down their cameras during the formal photos.

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22. I want to make copies of my photos. Does my photographer really own the copyright of his/her pictures? Do I still have to pay the photographer if I make the copies myself at a copy shop?

Yes and yes. According to federal law, images produced by a professional photographer are copyrighted the moment they are created. Federal law prohibits copying or reproducing copyrighted material without permission from the owner of the copyright, i.e., the photographer. If you copy or scan your photos, the photographer should be paid just as if you were buying reprints. If you or your videographer transfer the proofs to videotape, the photographer should be paid just as if you were buying reprints. If you don't feel comfortable paying for these copies, find a photographer whose work is so good that you are glad to pay. When I really appreciate something I purchase, like a fabulous meal, an antique, a good pair of shoes, or even medical care, I do not mind paying a premium for getting the highest quality. Look for the photographer who will provide you the satisfaction of paying for job well done. You can also purchase the rights to make your own copies or re-prints.

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