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Wedding Photography Planning Guide

Planning a wedding is downright stressful. With so many vendors to choose from, talk to, pay, etc. the whole thing can be daunting. Knowing that I am a piece of this puzzle, I want the photography part to be a breeze. I have put together this Wedding Photography Planning Guide to assist couples with understanding the process of finding, inquiring, booking and working with me, Erin Witt Photography.

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The Search: The first step in wedding photography planning is finding your ideal wedding photographer. Pour a glass of wine, grab the popcorn and hop on Instagram, Google, The Knot or Facebook to gather your intel. I have found it easiest to search via hashtags on Instagram since it is a visual social media and is easy to gather information quickly. For example, if I am a Denver girl who loves urban city weddings and knows I want to get married in downtown Denver, I might search the hashtag #denverweddingphotographer or #denvercitywedding to look for photographers who specialize in downtown Denver weddings.

When searching for photographers, look at how they edit. Are they bright and airy? Are they dark and moody? Are they true to color? I edit true to color with slight saturation, so when you look at my photos they look pretty accurate to what things look like in real life. How photographers edit is a part of themselves as much as it is a part of their brand. If you are looking for a light and airy or dark and moody photographer, I am not for you (but I’d be more than happy to connect you with photographers with those editing styles)! Take a good look at their portfolio (AND THEIR BLOG) to understand how they shoot. While their portfolio is their most loved work, their blog shows a whole wedding day – the good, the bad, the ugly. Take a look at how they handle non-ideal lighting situations, posing and how they capture moments.

Another important factor is pricing. In an effort to be transparent, I have my full pricing guide listed here. Most photographers have at least their starting price on their website. Be considerate of their prices. If a photographer says that their wedding packages start at $5000 and your budget is $2500, try finding another photographer who is in your budget. There are so many photographers in Colorado and I thoroughly believe there is a perfect match for each couple based on price, personality and editing style.

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Send Me a Note: So let’s say you stumbled upon my Instagram feed and liked my images. You like the way I shoot and you enjoy the colorful editing. The next step is to go to my Contact page and send me a note! Tell me about you, about your partner, about your wedding and what you are looking for in a photographer. I love getting inquiries and learning more about the couples who want to book with me! I will respond to you within 24 hours and while I hope to be available on your date, I will always send you recommendations for photographers similar to my style if I am booked on your day.

When writing me a note, I encourage you to include as much detail as possible. Write me a novel! Tell me what is important to you. Do you want two photographers? An engagement session? Do you not care about getting ready photos? Do you want to do a first look? Do you like french fries?Tell me everything!

Our First Date: A huge part of my brand is getting to know my couples, so this is a super important part of my Wedding Photography Planning guide. I spend A LOT of time with you guys on their your day, and it’s always fun when I have formed a relationship beforehand. I find that the couples that I am friends with have an easier time opening up to me when I am taking photos, which makes for more intimate and memorable images. Whether it’s a phone call, Skype session or happy hour, I love meeting my couples and while often times I do this before they book, sometimes I do it right after or right before the wedding. Regardless of the time, I love spending time together and learning more about what is important to you guys.

Booking: Once you have come to the conclusion that I am the right fit for you, I send you over a proposal which includes a contract and an invoice. A wedding date is not reserved until a contract has been signed and the retainer has been paid. The retainer is 50% of the total wedding package and is due at the time of signing the contract. (I do offer payment plans for the remaining balance if needed).

After you book, I encourage all couples to email me with any questions, changes or concerns. Since most couples book me a year in advance, the time from booking to the wedding can be a big gap, so let’s hang out! Email me, call me, let’s be friends!

Engagement Session: Engagement sessions are a great way for me to get to know you as well as letting you understand what I am like behind the camera. Engagement sessions are $600. Engagement session turn around time is dependent upon the current editing queue, but is normally 2-3 weeks.

Questionnaire Time: About one month before the wedding, I will send a questionnaire via email to go over important wedding day details such as; family formal combinations, the final timeline, any unique details I should be aware of and any last minute changes. Like I said previously, it’s very important for me to have relationships with my couples, so if you’d rather go over the questionnaires in person, let me know. It’s a great time to answer any last minute questions and ensure we are all on the same page.

Wedding Day: YAY! The day is finally here! I always try to get to wedding venues early to set up, say hi and scout the area for first look spots, portrait locations and to familiarize myself with the space. Right after I leave the wedding, I upload all images which immediately backs up the images to my cloud-based backup. I keep all cards in a fireproof safe until images have been delivered.

Preview: Between the wedding day and the delivery day, I will post images from the wedding on Facebook and Instagram to give you a sneak peek. I will also send 30+ images to you via email with an ETA for the full gallery. If you want a specific image turned around quickly after the wedding, or need a photo quickly for the thank you or holiday card, let me know and I will try my best to get it to you swiftly!

Delivery Day: The last step in the Wedding Photography Planning Guide is the delivery of your wedding images! While my turn around times can vary based on my current editing queue, my average turn around time is one month.

The wedding images will be delivered in an email with a link to the online gallery. The gallery includes full resolution edited wedding images with a download pin to download all of the photos. You can also share the gallery with your friends and family via the gallery link. The gallery will remain online for 90 days after the wedding. After the 90 days, anyone who has downloaded the gallery will receive an email informing them that the gallery will be taken down within a week and to make sure they have downloaded and backed up the images.

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I’m hopeful that this Wedding Photography Planning Guide can serve as a resource for my couples as well as engaged couples in general who are looking to understand the wedding photography planning process. While each photographer has a different way of going about things, they all follow the same general guidelines.

Should you have any additional questions, please reach out!

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Erin Witt is a Seattle wedding photographer serving ALL couples wanting authentic images in Seattle and beyond.