FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Many potential clients ask questions about my business, pricing and policies prior to booking me to photograph their wedding. The following is a list of the most frequently asked questions with answers. If you have any questions about any of these questions, please do not hesitate to Contact Me.

WHAT IS YOUR PRICING?

I can relate. I want to know pricing right away. My site lists my wedding collection starting prices. The reason I do not list all of my pricing for public view for a couple of important reasons. Number one, my rates and collections vary based on the location of your wedding. When weddings are outside of the Seattle or general Puget Sound region, there are travel fees that aren't included in my local rates. Number two, if you are having a Destination Wedding, there are particular rates for those wedding collections. And finally, I occasionally create custom collections for clients. If you need help creating a custom collection, please let me know. To receive detailed wedding collection pricing, send me an email or complete my Contact Form. I look forward to hearing from you.

HOW MANY PHOTOGRAPHERS WILL BE AT MY WEDDING?

There will be one or two photographers at your wedding, depending on the package you select. Some of my packages include a second photographer for the day. One of the benefits of having two photographers allows for multiple perspectives and extra shots of all of the wedding details. Please know that if you decide you do want a second photographer, you can add one later. Please all 3-4 weeks before your wedding to add a second photographer so I have time to find the best available from my list of approved list.

WHAT’S A SECOND PHOTOGRAPHER AND WHY WOULD I WANT ONE?

A second photographer is automatically included in many of my collections. They are literally another photographer there at your wedding for the entire day, taking photographs alongside me. Second photographers are very helpful to get additional perspectives, candids and any extra moments we see throughout the day.

WHERE ARE YOU LOCATED & HOW FAR DO YOU TRAVEL?

Here’s the short version of a long answer: YES! I can travel all over the world to photograph weddings – and I can’t wait to do this more! Hawaii, New York, Italy, the Caribbean, Napa Valley, Amsterdam, Iceland! I love exploring new places and seeing new things. If any travel is required for your wedding (airfare, hotel, ground transportation), you as the client are responsible for reimbursement of any of those charges. We can talk in depth about this.

DO YOU OFFER VIDEOGRAPHY SERVICES?

At this time, I am a photographer. I don’t offer videography services. If you need help finding a videographer or any other vendors for your wedding, please let me know and I can share other wedding vendors I have worked with in the past.

DO YOU HAVE AN ASSISTANT?

It depends. 12-Hour Collection comes with both a second photographer and an assistant. An assistant is different from a second photographer; the assistant is there to assist the photographers throughout the day. Assistants do everything from organizing and setting up equipment, to organizing families and wedding parties during portrait time.

DO YOU HAVE PAST CLIENTS WE CAN SPEAK TO AS REFERENCE?

Absolutely! I am proud of the relationships I have built with not only brides and grooms, but with wedding vendors in the Puget Sound area. I am happy to give you 2-3 names of past clients and/or wedding vendors I have worked with who have offered to be references for me for potential clients.

WE WANT TO HAVE PORTRAITS DONE IN A COOL LOCATION. DO WE NEED A PERMIT?

As much as I would love to help you on this, but the honest answer is I’m not sure. Any venue you are booking for your wedding, there is a very low chance you’d need a permit, but you never know and you should definitely ask! If you want to have photos done away from the venue, it’s good to know that you might need a permit. I know of a couple places that do require a permit in our area, or at minimum permission, for photography (Bellevue Botanical Gardens, Seattle Library). Permits must be obtained by the client in these instances. I am happy to help you figure out if you need a permit. It’s better to get this right before your wedding day. If we are in a location that requires a permit and get caught without one, we’ll have to leave. Better to be safe than sorry.

IMAGE DELIVERY:

DO YOU GIVE US IMAGES IN BLACK AND WHITE AND COLOR?

I do. Certain images just call to be made black and white. Others are taken with the sole purpose of being black and white. Images delivered to you in black and white cannot be converted to color, but color images in your online gallery can be flipped to black and white at your discretion. If you prefer more black and white images or fewer black and white images, please let me know before your wedding. We are happy to accommodate your preference there.

HOW MANY PICTURES DO YOU TAKE AND HOW MANY CAN I EXPECT TO GET BACK?

The number of photos you receive depends on the length of coverage, number of photographers, number of guests, types of activities or events during the wedding day, dancing, etc. I take anywhere from 1,000-4,000 images on a typical wedding day. I never limit the number of images I take. After the wedding I narrow down to the very best images from the day to deliver to you. A good rule of thumb is to expect about 75 final images per hour of coverage in your final gallery.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE BEFORE WE SEE OUR WEDDING PHOTOS?

Galleries are sent within three (3) weeks of the wedding date.

CAN WE SEE ALL OF THE PHOTOS THAT DIDN’T MAKE THE CUT?

The images in your online gallery are very meticulously selected and hand-edited. The images that don’t make the cut are ones where eyes are closed, a flash didn’t flash, someone walked in front of the camera or turned their head at the last second, These are true outtakes. Rest assured I will include everything in your final gallery that meets my standards and isn’t a duplicate. The unused images are not archived and are not available to view.

HOW MUCH EDITING DO YOU DO ON PHOTOS AND DO YOU KEEP A BACKUP?

Your final wedding photo collection which will be available in an online gallery will be curated and edited to my extremely high standards. I edit for sharpness, color, white balance, exposure and any additional edits which are necessary to get the image looking perfect. Do I back it all up? You betcha I do! I’m a backup fanatic. All of your wedding images are backed up to multiple, mirroring hard drives as well as to the cloud.

DO YOU EDIT ALL THE IMAGES?

Yes, I sure do! Every single image that is selected to deliver to you is hand-edited. Each file is handled individually to perfect exposure, color, white balance, sharpness, etc.

ARE DIGITAL FILES WATERMARKED?

Your images are never watermarked.

DO WE GET THE DIGITAL “NEGATIVES”?

You will receive all of the edited high-resolution files – these are the equal to a negative. When you receive the link for your online gallery, I will also provide you with a list of printing companies to get high quality prints if you want to. Cheryl Ford retains the copyright to all of the images and maintain the right to use any of the images for promotional purposes, blog posts, portfolio, competition, etc. You also receive a written release which gives you permission to use any of your wedding images for personal use, including having prints made for you, your family or your friends.

DO WE GET A COPYRIGHT OF THE IMAGES?

Interesting question. I get asked about copyright occasionally and it is a good topic to discuss. You will receive a “copyright release” which is included in your contract. This means that you get a release to use and have images printed. That “release” is different from the actual Copyright. The Copyright of the image will always remain the property of Cheryl Ford Photography – it means that I created the image. Selling or giving up that copyright is simply not possible. But remember, you still can print your images and share them with family and friends!

CAN WE PRINT OUR OWN WEDDING PHOTOS?

Yes, of course! When you receive your online gallery, you will also receive a print & use release.

CAN WE GET THE RAW, UNEDITED FILES?

Unfortunately, raw or unedited files are not available. That would be like you ordering a beautiful 5-course meal at a restaurant, only you just get the ingredients delivered to your table without any of the tools needed to create the meal. The images that I select for your final online gallery will reflect my high standards. Please understand, images not delivered truly are just outtakes and are images you would not want in your final collection. I do not select images for your final gallery based on trying to hit a specific number. All of the great photos will be included in your online gallery.

WILL YOU BE ATTENDING OUR REHEARSAL?

I certainly can! You can add on Rehearsal Dinner Coverage to your collection at any time. If you choose not to add rehearsal dinner coverage, we will certainly walk through in detail your ceremony timing prior to your wedding. I can’t wait to hear about it, but it is not necessary for me to attend the rehearsal to cover the ceremony and capture all of the photos you will want.

DO WE HAVE TO ORDER PRINTS THROUGH YOUR SITE?

I highly recommend ordering prints through me, but it is not mandatory. The difference in quality is HUGE when it comes to ordering through a local printer (Wal-Mart, Costco, Target) and a professional lab, so I encourage clients to let me help with prints. The online gallery you receive is also a cart & ordering system for prints and products. This makes it easy to simply order prints right from your gallery. When ordering through the gallery, I can guarantee the quality of the prints you receive. Additionally you can download your digital files and order prints or products on your own. If you choose to have prints made on your own, I highly recommend you use one of the consumer level labs we suggest.

HOW DO I GET MY ALBUM?

Wedding albums turn out to be one of my clients’ cherished possessions. I personally love wedding albums and really enjoy the process of creating this heirloom for you. Of course, having the digital images is hugely important. But flipping through an album is so much nicer than looking at photos on your computer or phone. An album is a physical record of the most important day of your life, the day you became a family. As a courtesy to my clients, I have begun pre-designing albums. If an album is part of your collection or you have purchased one, the initial design will be included in your online gallery for your review. Once you have had a chance to look through the album pages, we can schedule a time to talk on the phone, Skype or Facetime to finalize your wedding album design.

WHAT WILL MY ALBUM LOOK LIKE?

The wedding albums I design have a modern, clean design. Your wedding photos are printed directly onto sturdy photographic matte paper pages. The finish on the pages is soft and gorgeous. The albums I offer have leather covers with your name and wedding date debossed on the front of the album. Linen covers are also available (upgrade) and look gorgeous. My designs are classic, clean and modern so the design of your album stands the test of time and will be an heirloom for you, your children and their children.

WHAT IS AN “ONLINE GALLERY”?

An Online Gallery is a gallery of your wedding images hosted on my site. Your gallery will be private and password-protected. You can share the link to the gallery with anyone: family, friends, etc. The gallery includes a shopping cart feature that allows you – or friends and family – to order prints, albums or other products simply through the gallery. This is also the way you receive your digital files from your wedding day. Each online gallery includes a download option so you can securely download all of your wedding photos instantly once you receive your gallery. Remember, online galleries are released within 3 weeks of your wedding date.

CAN WE HAVE MORE IMAGES?

All wedding galleries are different. Many things can affect the number of images in the gallery: Length of coverage, number of photographers, events during the day, adding rehearsal coverage or full weekend coverage (yep, I do that!). Therefore, each gallery will include a unique number of images. If you are concerned there will not be enough images of your wedding day, you can add a second photographer (or even a third photographer if you really want to) to work with me throughout your wedding day.

DO YOU OFFER ENGAGEMENT SESSIONS?

Oh yes and I love them. Most of my wedding collections include an engagement session already, because I think they are super important. If you are working through my a la carte pricing, you can always add an engagement session. During peak wedding season, engagement sessions are typically done during the week. Winter sessions tend to start at 2:00 or 3:00 p.m. – depending on sunset. And Summer sessions start a bit later at 5:00 p.m. or 6:00 p.m. – again depending on when the sun will be setting. All engagement sessions are photographed in the Seattle area. If you’d like to travel outside of that area for your enagement session, I would love to do that. There may be additional travel rates may apply.

STYLE

HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE?

My style is natural, modern and fun. My approach to your wedding day is a journalistic style more than anything. I like to be discreet and hands-off for much of the day. But I know that there is a time and a place for casually posed photos as well: bride & groom portraits, family photos and bridal party. I am not the type of photographer who will stop you during your cake cutting for a posed photo. What I do want built into your wedding day is an hour (or more if we can swing it) with you both alone to make gorgeous images for you. Additionally, I want to preserve all of the wedding details you have so painstakingly put together for your day. Everything from your shoes to your cake to your wedding invitations. Coverage during your cocktail hour and reception tend to be focused on capturing you and your guests in a journalistic way: talking, dancing, drinking, laughing. And when it makes sense, we’ll also grab casual groups hanging out and snap a quick pic.

WHAT IS A FIRST LOOK AND WHY SHOULD I HAVE ONE?

Great question! I love First Looks. It’s one of my very favorite moments in a wedding day. A First Look is a special moment between the two of you, before the ceremony to see each other for the first time. It is an exciting moment and so special for me to photograph. A First Look is a way to settle nerves before the ceremony and helps your wedding day timeline run a bit more smoothly. Plus it gives you extra time to get more photos done before your ceremony. Of course, I would never require couples do a First Look, but I do like to present the concept and talk through the pros and cons.

DO YOU DO FAMILY PHOTOS?

Of course! I think family photos at a wedding are a wonderful way to document this moment in your family history. Before the wedding, I will send you a questionnaire that will cover all of the details of your day. Among the questions is a section for family photos. There is a list of traditional family groupings I take at a typical wedding and a spot for you to write in any others you would like to capture. Keep in mind we typically have about 30-40 minutes for family photos at a wedding so keeping the list of groupings to 12-13.

CAN YOU TAKE MORE DRAMATIC, DARK PHOTOS WITH HEAVY SHADOWS AND BRIGHT HIGHLIGHTS THAT I SEE ONLINE?

If what you’re looking for is more of a dramatic, dark, contrasty style of photography, then I may not be the right photographer for you. I use a great deal of even light in my naturally-lit images. Make sure that you look through all of the galleries provided to make sure that the style you see matches the style you want for your wedding day photography.

DO YOU NEED A “SHOT LIST”?

For family groupings, yes, definitely. But other than that, I’d prefer you don’t provide a shot list. Let me explain. Having a “shot list” of requests for posed or setup images is very counterproductive to my style of photographing a wedding and what you have seen in my portfolio. Many popular bridal magazines provide shot lists and are a great idea in theory. But I’ll be capturing those images as a matter of course throughout the day. I won’t need a list to know to photograph your bouquet and table numbers. These are all shots that get taken automatically.

Also a note about Pinterest. Pinterest is great for inspiration for your wedding. Having me spend your wedding day recreating images from Pinterest takes away the time for me to capture the naturally-occuring moments that are happening. Additionally, without the exact same conditions (lighting, time of day, location on earth, etc.) it can be virtually impossible to recreate an exact image from Pinterest.

BUSINESS & DETAILS

DO YOU HAVE INSURANCE?

Yes. Absolutely. 100%  Many venues require photographers to carry at least $1M in liability insurance. I wouldn’t do business without it. It protects me, you and your guests!

WHAT EQUIPMENT DO YOU USE?

I use all of the latest top-of-the-line professional Canon equipment. Here's what's in my bag:

  • Canon 5D Mark IV
  • Canon 5D Mark III
  • Canon 5D Mark II
  • Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 USM II
  • Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro
  • Canon 85mm f/1.8 
  • Canon 50mm f/1.2
  • Canon 24mm f/1.4
  • Canon 580EX II Flash
  • Canon 430EX Flash
  • Yongnuo 600RT EX Flash

All of my equipment has a backup in the rare event that anything should occur to one of my cameras or lenses.

CAN YOU PROVIDE MY VENUE WITH A CERTIFICATE OF INSURANCE?

Yes. Please let me know a couple months ahead of time so I can coordinate with my insurance company. Feel free to put me directly in touch with your venue or wedding planner to get all of the details as venues have different requirements.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN BUSINESS?

I’ve been in business since 2011 and I have photographed over 100 weddings. I remember every single one of them! Every wedding has a unique story – that’s what makes it so fun to be a wedding photographer. I have photographed weddings on boats, ferries, the top of a mountain, on a beach, in churches, synagogues, in rain and snow. And I appreciate that every wedding is different.

I LOVE YOUR PHOTOS. WHAT DO I DO NEXT?

Great! I love to hear that! Let’s get together and chat. We can meet for coffee, a glass of wine or over Skype. I’d love to get to know you better, hear all about your wedding and talk about working together. I believe we both need to be the right fit for each other so chatting and getting to know each other a bit really helps.

HOW DO WE RESERVE OUR DATE?

A 50%  non-refundable retainer and signed contract are required in order to get your wedding day on the Cheryl Ford Photography calendar. Fourteen (14) days prior to your wedding, the remainder of the balance is due.

CAN YOU HOLD A DATE FOR ME?

I cannot hold a wedding date for more than 48 hours without a retainer and signed contract. I accept bookings on a first come/first served basis.

WHAT IS YOUR PAYMENT SCHEDULE?

A booking fee/retainer of 50% is due to reserve your date. Your final payment is due 14 days before your wedding date. I’ll send you an email reminder when your payment is due. If you are interested in making monthly payments or splitting up your payments throughout the year, please let me know and we can talk through those options.

DO WE HAVE TO PAY SALES TAX?

Yes, if you live in the State of Washington, I am obligated by law to collect Sales Tax and remit it to the State quarterly. Do I want you to have to pay it? Do I want me to have to pay it? The answer is no to both questions. But it’s the law. If you live in a state that has no Sales Tax, please let me know before your book your wedding with me.

CAN WE PAY AFTER THE WEDDING?

I require full payment before the wedding date. Any payments for overtime, albums or album upgrades or additional products after your wedding day, are due post-wedding. If you have any concerns about the payment schedule, let’s chat about it.

WHAT IF I CANCEL MY WEDDING – DO I GET MY RETAINER BACK?

Your retainer fee and any and all monies paid to Cheryl Ford Photography are non-refundable. Your retainer payment promises that I’ll hold your date entirely for you and only you. Once you’ve signed the contract I do turn down all booking opportunities for your date.

WHAT IF YOU DIE?

If I die, I won’t be at your wedding. Guaranteed :) However, Cheryl Ford Photography will still provide you with coverage for your wedding. I have many photographer friends and am part of many local networking groups who can be called upon to replace me in such a tragic event.

SO MAYBE YOU DIDN’T DIE BUT WHAT IF SOMETHING HAPPENS?

So far, I have never missed a wedding. I take this responsibility of photographing your wedding seriously. As a professional wedding photographer, you don’t get to just “call in sick.” Wedding photographers work when they’re sick, have migraines, have broken wrists, broken ankles, have just lost their grandmother. This is a job we commit to and we mean it. If something severe happens (we’re talking I am IN the hospital and they won’t let me leave), I will get you a replacement photographer who matches my style to photograph your wedding. If you have serious concerns about this, let’s talk it through. This is something I plan for but hope I never have to put that plan in place.

HOW FAR IN ADVANCE SHOULD WE BOOK YOU?

My answer is as soon as possible! Many of my bookings are within the year of the wedding but some couples book as far as a year and a half in advance. As a wedding photographer, I can pretty easily predict what weekends each summer will be popular wedding weekends, but I cannot predict when those dates will get booked. If you are set on booking Cheryl Ford Photography, I suggest booking as soon as you can.

WHAT IF OUR SCHEDULE RUNS LATE ON OUR WEDDING DAY?

Once it’s your wedding day, I typically do not have anything else going on that day. There is an overtime rate if you need me to stay later than planned. This only happens with your permission of course. Those overtime hours are billed to you after the wedding date and images are released once payment is made. Please note that overtime includes the second photographer or assistant (if they are part of your chosen collection).

DO YOU OFFER DISCOUNTS FOR OFF-SEASON OR NON-PEAK DAYS?

Sometimes, yes. These discounts are based on the season, my schedule and availability for the date. If you have concerns about your photography budget, we can talk about how to work around your concerns.

DO WE FEED YOU AT THE RECEPTION?

Typically, this is the one and only quick break we take to eat a hot meal and we GREATLY appreciate it! It keeps us moving in full force during the wedding reception! We’re happy with anything, as long as it’s a warm meal! We prefer to eat at the exact same time that you eat during the reception, not after and can talk to the coordinator or catering staff about this as well. Eating while you eat makes us ready and fueled up to continue your coverage for toasts, dances, cake cutting and dancing into the night.

DO YOU MIND IF OUR FRIENDS OR FAMILY TAKE PICTURES TOO?

I do not mind at all. My only request is that they are respectful of the work I am doing, that you hired me for. Particularly during family photos, as long as I can get all eyes pointing my way, I don’t mind if they snap photos from behind me. Cameras during the reception are fine, again I just ask that your guests do not step in front of me or push me out of the way.

With that said, I do like to talk about “unplugged” ceremonies. Once again, I would never, ever force this on any of my couples, but I do believe that your wedding ceremony is a sacred time and that guests should be present and in the moment with you as you pledge your lives to each other - and not watching it through a camera phone. It’s easy to add a line to your program, have a sign posted or have your officiant ask guests to put their phones away during the ceremony.

If you have any other questions along the way, please do not hesitate to drop me at note at cheryl@cheryl-ford-photography.com or use this Contact Form.

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