What you should know about your Engagement Session and Other 'Stuff'...
Let's talk about the engagement session first! This is the first step into your future with your 'other half' anyway...
Pivotal Moment - You Must Do!
Often people don’t have a clear understanding on what an Engagement session entails, and that might be a deciding factor if they will go ahead and schedule their lifetime memories to be documented or put them on hold. There's enough stress preparing for the wedding itself, so knowing ahead of time what to expect, will help relieve some of that stress. An engagement session should be well timed, relaxed and taken place in a beautiful (preferably shaded) location, that is meaningful to you. That can be anywhere, even in your parent's backyard.
What's most important though is that (ideally) you want to get to know your photographer before the wedding, because you will spend a lot of time together that day and it's best to get to know them ahead of time a bit, so you can feel more comfortable when the big day comes. That way you can see what works and what doesn't when you are being given instructions how to pose in front of the camera. We, photographers, all have our different styles working with people and we encounter some that are shy, and some that are OK with being photographed. But if you fall into the first category, then you should more-so consider having an engagement session done.
Some couples do it for the 'Save the Date' cards, or to be displayed at the wedding for slideshows and such, other times, just having some professional photographs done is just enough to keep that moment alive for the rest of your lives. The engagement session is one of the sweetest special moments commemorating your love, definitely a must-do!
Tips and Tricks
How to Organize yourself for the Wedding
Now that you finally are engaged, it is time to officially prepare everything for the big day. Just like anything else in life, preparation is the secret to a successful and fabulous occasion. A wedding is one of the events that would ultimately take much of your muscles, ideas and most of all, time. Here are some practical tips on how to prepare for your wedding.
The very first thing that every couple should prepare is the wedding diary, which may come in the form of a folder or a binder. This diary should be the bible of the couple until the final wedding preparations. Carry this diary whenever you go because you’ll never know when and where a brilliant idea may come into your mind. Take down notes on ideas that you encounter in magazines, commercials and books you come across with. This way, you won’t forget a thing.
Another important thing that you will need to work out is the budget for the wedding. Start by determining how much money you can spend, including your parent’s contributions and your own. Actually, setting a budget is quite easy, if you just follow this basic rule: plan a wedding within your means. Problems arise when it comes to sticking to the budget. You may ask yourself this question: Is spending this amount of money really worth it for the both of us? In the end, needing a couple or more years to pay off the wedding party is not a good way to start a married life.
Right after you determine how much budget you have, start head counting your guests both to the ceremony and the reception. You can keep the list of those who are invited in your wedding diary. Make sure also to include relevant information about the guests such as their complete address, contact information and other pertinent details. This way, you can estimate how many will be sent with the invitations and how many are actually attending. One way to estimate the attendants is to send the invitations early with RSVP so that the recipient will have time to respond to your invitation.
Date and Venue
As soon as you get an estimate of the number guests and having set a budget, it’s time to reserve the date and the venue. Decide if you will have a separate location for the ceremony and the reception. If you decide to do so, make sure to consider the time of travel between the two places. Other factors to consider when setting a date and venue are your work schedules, the day of week and the family’s schedules, especially when one’s family lives far from the designated venue. Also, make sure to set alternative dates when a particular day is not possible. Find a perfect wedding venue throughout the US.
Photographers, Florists, Officiating Person and Caterers
Contact the officiating person for your wedding weeks or months before the scheduled day. Whether it is a priest, a pastor or a judge, make sure to meet them personally before the wedding. Research on your favorite florist, caterers and photographers and make sure that these people are available to be of service on the day of your wedding. Find perfect wedding florist, caterers and photographers throughout the US.
Other things that you should prepare may include but not limited to on how to prepare for wedding:
groomsmen and bridesmaid
the honeymoon afterwards
Your wedding is surely one of the most exciting days in your life, but with all the preparations to make it can knock you off your feet. Thus, it is important that you take time to yourself. Appreciate everyone’s effort but set aside time for yourself to shake off the stress and nervousness. Stay connected to the man or woman whom you want to marry because after all, it’s both your day.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. When and How will I receive my photos?
Within 6 weeks you will receive an online gallery that will allow you to directly download the files in one straight shot or choose your selects. The gallery can be shared with friends and family, and offers options for print orders. Gallery navigation instructions will be included at the time of delivery.
2. How many photos will I get?
Depends on each package - however, an estimated number for the 8 or 9 hour packages is between 800 - 1,200 photos.
3. Will I get any prints?
You will not receive prints. However, as mentioned above, the gallery will have the option for any size print orders mounted on a wide variety of displays (i.e. Standouts, Metal prints, Canvases, Ornaments, Image Cubes, Float Wraps and so much more) - My favorite way to print images is on enlarged metals. Click HERE to see our highly complimented metal print collection on display at this year’s Seattle Wedding Show.
4. Will a print release letter be included with my images?
You have full print rights to the images you receive, but the release is not automatically included. I’ll be more than happy to send you one after the wedding, or sign a form that a certain lab of your choice is requesting.
5. Do you do Destination Weddings? What are other traveling expenses?
YES! The standard fee for any destination Wedding is $5,000 + tax.
Although, Adina Preston Weddings is Seattle based, I love to travel around the world, meet people that are in love, and document their special day. I usually arrive 2 days before the wedding and leave the second day, so the package will include Flight, Hotel, Car, Food, and other miscellaneous expenses.
6. What’s the deal with the second photographer?
A second photographer is not always required, in spite of what some people or friends may say. I always ask about the flow of your wedding day, to get a better understanding on how busy or full of events it is. Based on that answer, we can decide together if adding a second photographer is recommended or not. Most of the packages offered include a second photographer, except Collection 4, which is the most basic package. After discussing the flow of the day, if it’s decided that you’d like to go with a solo photographer, we can swap the second photographer with an extra hour of coverage. Price discounts do not apply.
When a second photographer is typically needed:
• Large weddings (over 100 guests)
• Weddings with short ceremonies
• When there are a lot of events scheduled throughout the day
• Large bridal parties // Large families attending the wedding (if time is short, groups may be split between the lead photographer and the second photographer)
• When the chosen coverage is not enough and there is also travel time between locations
Benefits of having a second photographer, aside from being necessary:
• Multiple angle coverage throughout the day
• Time efficiency
7. How many hours do you suggest we need to set aside for wedding day photos?
• The formal portrait session generally takes place in several stages. It can take 45 minutes at one time, perhaps followed by a second time of the day after the ceremony that would take 20-30 minutes. Lastly if weather allows, before the sunset takes place, I assign 10-15 last minutes for those gorgeous golden hour shots. All these times can vary however. Some couples only want to have photos done one time, and enjoy the rest of the day with family and friends.
• Family portraits are kept slightly more traditional, while the bridal party, along with the Bride and Groom portraits are usually a bit more playful and contemporary. I ask the bride to put together a list with groups of family members that she and her groom would like to be photograph with. On wedding day, we hand that list to a family member or friend that knows the people and can call them when their turn comes.
The portrait session is one of the most essential elements of your photography, so the more time which can be put aside, the more freedom we'll have to visit multiple locations and keep it fun and creative. The key is not to rush this stage so that you don't feel any added stress, as being more relaxed will translate into better images. Once I know the details of your event we'll work together to set aside an appropriate amount of time to achieve the images you want.
8. When should we do our engagement session?
The Engagement sessions are usually done no less then 3 months before the wedding, but it really depends on how you want to use the photos. In all honesty, you can also take your engagement photos after the wedding - I'm OK with that! If you need to send out invitations, then you will have to get those photos done at least 6 - 9 months in advance, to make sure your planning goes smoothly.
One thing to keep in mind - please be prepared to have the engagement session during the week, because during the high season, the weekends are saved and booked for weddings. A weekend engagement is not guaranteed.
9. Do you travel to meet clients?
Because I have had a few 'no-shows' in the past without any notice, I do not travel anymore. Our first consultation will take place either on the phone or Skype/FaceTime, or close to my studio in Renton. The wedding season is usually very demanding, and meeting with everyone is very hard to accomplish due to time limitations. I have connected successfully with lots of couples via online and we have had very successful collaborations till the end. If a second consultation is required, or you would like me to visit the venue prior to the wedding, then both travel ($50 in the Seattle area, $150 out-bounds) and time charges apply ($50/hr). It is not necessary for me to see the venue ahead of time, but if there are special circumstances, and you need me there, I will certainly be there.
10. What kind of equipment are you shooting with?
Top of the line Canon gear - 3 camera bodies: (2) 5D Mk IVs + (1) 5D Mk III and all my lenses are prime lenses. I am a pretty thrifty photographer and I am a Canon fanatic, so I made sure I only got the best of the best in order to offer you gorgeous images and no less!
11. Do you have insurance?
12. Are you comfortable shooting in dark situations?
Of course, I am comfortable and ready to G.O. in any situation! Besides, I have gear for pretty much any type of venue, no matter how dark it is. Just understand that certain things may not be possible in dark situations and it limits photo opportunities, but no worries, at least we can talk about them beforehand.
13. Park Permits & Parking Fees - do I take care of them, or do you?
Park permits might be required sometimes. I have never been asked to present one while I was photographing any of my sessions in Seattle, unless I was at a State park, but it's the client's responsibility to do the research and acquire one if necessary. If there is a park ranger on site or anyone is walking the grounds, this is something that needs to be researched prior to us going there. Also, parking must be covered by the client at the time of the session.
14. Do you offer Military Discounts?
YES! $100 OFF ANY Collection! As a military spouse myself, I know exactly what kind of sacrifices the military members and their families do. For 12 years I have moved from Miami - Florida, to Beaumont - Texas, to Charleston - South Carolina, to Kodiak - Alaska, and finally here. Where there was a Coast Guard base, chances were, that location could have been our next home. We have eventually decided that our last destination would be Seattle - Washington. It was a fun journey but stressful as well, so YES, I appreciate each and every military member out there, and I try to show my gratitude as often as I can.
How Do You Choose The Best Wedding Photographer for you?
I have blogged about this previously, you might have seen it before, but I can't stress how important it is for you to feel comfortable with your photographer. I truly think this is vital information when you're in the hunt for someone good!
If you're like me, you started planning for your big day since you were a little girl, right? And you know this is a one time opportunity to do it right - you only have ONE shot at it. Searching for a wedding photographer, especially in Seattle, must be overwhelming. So how do you choose the best Seattle wedding photographer? There is so much talent here, and everyone is eager to please. So how do you choose? I'll give you a few pointers:
1. Do your research. Choose that one photographer that has what your eye and what your heart needs. Make sure that those pretty pictures have the feel that you're looking for. When you look at his portfolio, do you see yourself in those photos? Yes? That's great - It's a good start!
2. Set your budget before emailing the photographer. Are you on a set budget, or you want this to be a perfectly documented moment of your life? I'll tell you now, you get what you pay for, so don't go with the cheapest out there, go with THE one that made you feel emotion looking through his photos. Pay a little more for photos, and less on DJ or cinematographer, because the photos will stay with you forever more than anything else. Be assured that those memories will be the best and last forever for generations to come!
3. Schedule your engagement with the same photographer. That way you will get to meet him and see how he works, you'll feel better and at ease knowing what his approach it before the wedding day, so you can relax and enjoy all the fun, know that he'll do his best documenting the big day perfectly for YOU!
4. Ensure that you and your photographer are on the same page. How much information did he share with you prior to your session? Has he set your expectations yet? Are you chasing after him or was he punctual with his responses, and you could feel that he is genuinely interested in working with you? Has he explained everything clearly? Do you have questions still? Make sure you ask them so you know exactly what you're signing up for.
5. Does your photographer have a reputation? No reputation is better than a BAD reputation. So if he's not really known in the area, it's not necessarily a terrible thing. It does not mean he's not good, it might be that his clients are diverse or maybe just started a new photographic journey and he's still building his portfolio. Don't get discouraged if, for example, you are looking for a wedding portfolio but he only has engagement photos to show, if you love the stylistic feel of his photographs, go for it!
6. Last but not Least --- Book Early!!! There is nothing worse than finding out that the photographer you really wanted is booked already on your special wedding day. Also, as photographers we grow, we gain more experience, buy new gear, equipment needs to be serviced, market changes, demand is higher, and so we all have to make smart business decisions, and sometimes that entails raising the prices. There are multiple components that make photography what it is, so all those little pieces fully perform at a certain standard.
Good Luck with everything! And please make sure you sign up!