Frequently Asked Questions

February 24, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

1. Do you provide quotes?

Absolutely. You need to know how much the photographic services and products will cost. I provide an itemised breakdown of the costs for you to consider.

2. How long is the quote valid?

Normally it is thirty (30) days from issue of the quote. This is documented in the quote. Like yourself, supplier costs fluctuate over the new year and mid year periods and photographers need to be able to adjust their quotes accordingly.

3. Can we negotiate on price?

Unfortunately no. I have certain costs involved which are well understood (gear, printing, laboratory, albums, etc) and try at all times to provide value for money. Bidding against other photographers creates a tense situation for all parties involved. And in my experience it ends up affecting the quality of the photographs. I sometimes order products in bulk (when several booking are confirmed) which allows me to pass on the savings.

4. Can I change my wedding date after I pay my deposit?

Yes. It's best to do this asap as weekend bookings over spring and summer fill up quickly. As I only ever do one wedding per day (and often one per weekend) you need to be organised. If it's a late change (< 6 months away), and there's a booking conflict, I will contact you to resolve the matter. This may involve us working through dates to see what is available or referring you to another photographer.

5. Why do I have to pay a non-refundable deposit?

The non refundable desposit is designed to cover those circumstances where a client books you for an event and then later seeks to cancel the booking. Wedding bookings normally happen 10-12 months in advance and when clients cancel it often places myself in a situation where you have no chance to rebook the date. I often refer couples to other photographers because I have a confirmed booking.  Believe it or not - I have had couples cancel two weeks before an event without any explanation. The non-refundable deposit is designed to cover these situations. If the couple has a legitimate reason for cancelling the wedding I often refund the deposit (even though I am not obliged). If someone suffers a personal tragedy I wouldn't want to benefit from that.

6. What happens if the photographer does not show?
 
In this unlikely circumstance, a full refund would be forthcoming. Mechanical failure (car breakdown), or a mistake on my behalf, or even a technical malfunction (memory card failure). My contracts state that in the event of the above - I am obliged to provide a full refund. I do a lot of planning to ensure things go like clockwork, and spend a lot of money maintaining my vehicle, photography gear (including backup gear and redundancies), and maintain a detailed booking schedule to ensure this situation does not arise.
 
7. Why do I need a contract?

Just like you would not employ a builder without a contract, you should never employ a photographer without one. The contract protects both parties by spelling out what each parties expectations are in the deal. For example, the contract states that a client is covered for a refund of all costs should a technical malfunction occur on the day which prevents him / her from taking photographs. Equally, the contract states that full payment must be recieved two weeks before the event date. You should not be afraid of the contract: rather see it as a way of protecting yourself.

8. Why do I need to fill out a client questionaire?

My job is to tailor the wedding to achieve the absolute best result. Having important information like dates, times, names and locations greatly helps with the process. Without the information, the photographer may miss a special moment the bride wants photographed, or may not get a shot of the groom with his brother (because he did not know he had one!). So filling out the information makes sure that all the critical information is captured. If you prefer, I am happy to come over and interview you to collect the information.

9. Do I get all the photographs on DVD?
 
It's my practice to retain strict licencing of all photographs. This is not for the reasons you might think (ie: revenue stream). The main reasons are: 
  • Clients should only have to pay for their favourite images. To obtain an unlimited licence arrangement (DVD) means purchasing the entire image set (often 800-1200 images). This is a substancial additional cost. Normally in the region of 30%-40% of the entire event cost;
  • Ensuring print quality & thereby maintaining my brand. The latter is really important. When I first started out, I provided DVD's to clients and found they often had printing issues. Clients rarely 'colour matched' prints or used premium archival quality inks / paper. If the prints are done at home or Big W - you get serious colour casts, chromatic abberations etc in the prints. Or the prints fade over a few months. It was a nightmare trying to convince people that there was no problem from my end. 
  • I use a variety of wide angle lenses that generate non standard image sizes (12x8 panoramas). To avoid image distortion (when printing) you need to print non standard sizes on specialised equipment (it's the only way to get them right). If you try to print these without specialist knowledge it defaults to 10x8 and you get weird results! It either half crops people out of the print or results in "stretching" at the edges. I use a specialist photographic laboratory who print all my images - it makes all the difference.
  • I love showing new clients my photography portfolio. Therefore, I wish to retain unlimited licencing for use of the images in advertising, websites, promotions, etc. Rest assured, if I want to use an image for a competition or marketing event I normally ask permission. Especially when I wish to use photographs of children. I always err on the side of caution. It's the right thing to do.
I mentioned brand quality. Almost all my referrals are via "word of mouth" and so client satisfaction is important. I have ordered photographs from a laboratory and was unhappy with the final product. They were 90% right but this wasn't good enough. I ended up making small adjustments to the colouring in photoshop (lightening the images) and getting them reprinted at my own expense. Having the images come out perfect was far more important to me than a one off cost. I do try to keep the print costs to a minimum to ensure clients are getting value for money.
 
When I first started out, I did give clients a DVD. It took hours to order all the images and burn onto the disk. One client promptly lost the disk and ended up coming back to me asking for another disk. They lost it again and decided to just order some prints!  I gave another client a DVD and the disk got scratched and was unplayable. A third client requested several disks until they realised the problem was the file format on their computer....you get the idea. Cloud computing is the future!
 
Hard copy ownership is not the issue here. What is then I hear you ask? Well, having easy and quick access to all images from any computer with a internet connection. My online 'photo bank' is safe, secure, available 24/7 and easy to access. I can even password protect it if you want. If there's a really important image, or you want a couple of photographs to send auntie betty, or to post on your facebook account - just ask and I'll send them to you. Research shows that couples who do have hard copy wedding images print out less than 5% of the images. And the most popular print size is 6x4!
 
10. So what if this is a dealbreaker?
 
Sometimes it is (which is unfortunate). I did relent once and regretted it immediately. There are several local photographers who provide 'shoot and burn' deals. But be warned, they rarely provide any form of ongoing support.
 
11. What about corporate clients?
 
Corporate clients often require an unlimited licence for publications like annual reports. As stated, your looking at around 30%-40% of the total event cost. I include this into corporate quotes and special requests.
 
12. Can I get a parents album?
 
Yes.  I produce a standard thirty (30) page boxed "parent albums." These are smaller versions (A4 size) of the wedding albums. I use Corbin & Blair albums (top quality) and construct them all by hand. I can also provide published coffee table wedding 'photo books.' The number of pages depends on the photographs and the event size. As a rule of thumb, wedding photo books are between 80-100 pages depending on the layout. It's really a personal choice as to what your parents prefer. If they want traditional, less images, but extremely high quality - go with the former (but they are heavy!). If you want more images, good quality, lustre touch pages, and a modern coffee table style layout - I recommend the latter. And they are significantly lighter for transporting around. Much easier for carrying around and showing off  to friends and family. 

Thanks - Grant


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