Fairly often we have a couple come in for a meeting with us and they bring along a list of questions to ask your p from a magazine, web site or planning binder. So, I thought I’d grab a recent copy of a wedding magazine (Inside Weddings, Summer 2010) and answer their questions here for our beloved readers :-)

1 What is included in your photo session? By “session” I guess they mean the photo coverage on the wedding day, but it can also mean an engagement session or a Viva la Dress session (Lisa’s name for a trash the dress).  For the wedding day, the session pretty much always includes 2 photographers and a set number of hours dependent upon your contract.  If we are booked for a nine hour day, from 1 pm to 10 pm, that means we will be ready to start clicking photos at 1 pm. So we arrive 10-20 minutes before then to prep ourselves, find the room, etc…  With two photographers, each photographer can work independent of the other, so one of us can go the bride and the other to the groom. When the end of our contracted time comes around, we will check in with you to make sure we are all set. If things have run late, we will ask you if you want us to stay (which will cost a few bucks and will be billed in a week or so).

Also included will be any travel to and from the locations unless you are outside of Sonoma/Napa, SF Bay Area or San Mateo Coast…  (if you are not local, travel will be a separate line item in the contract and all travel expenses will be included in that line).  We do not take a break per se, but for weddings of 6 or more hours we do need to eat at some point.  For the meal, usually one of us will eat while the other stays at the reception then we switch, and we eat either before or after toasts while the guests are eating.

What else is included, hmmm…  we are dressed (appropriately at that!).  We are there to get great photos, to help your day go smoothly, to make your family love us… For engagement sessions or Viva la Dress shoots, generally you will get one photographer for about 3 hours.  We are happy to do the driving (in fact, we encourage it most of the time).  We’ll go to 3 locations, sometimes 4.

2 Will the person you’re meeting with (and whose work you have seen) be the person who actually shows up on your big day? Absolutely!  When you come to our studio, you will meet with Lisa or James (often both of us).  About 10% of the images on our website (as of July 2010) are shot by our associates. The rest are buy Lisa or James and we are happy to point out who shot what.  Most of our weddings are shot by both James and Lisa, but some are by James with an associate or Lisa with an associate.  It will be clear on your contract who you are getting and it will absolutely be with who you met.

3 Is there a minimum number of hours for which they contract, or do they provide “complete” coverage of the day? We don’t have a real ‘minimum’ number of hours, but we do have to consider the bottom line.  We are probably not going to agree to shooting for two hours on a Saturday in July since that is one of our busiest months and we need to make a living.  Now if you need 2 hours on a Wednesday in February, that’s something we can talk about ;-)

Well, I am getting a cramp in my hand from typing so much more than I’m used to, so I’ll answer some more of the 10 questions in a follow up post. Stay tuned…

BTW if my answers only served to raise more questions, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll answer them :-)