To all of my dear past and present photography clients,
This historical world event has affected us all in ways we could not have possibly foreseen, and continues to do so daily. Businesses are closing left and right, and people are dying. Many who have not directly seen these terrible things in person are being misled by unqualified information and ludicrous conspiracy theories being passed around the internet, and some people seem to be under the impression that this is not serious. Some people are refusing to wear masks, somehow believing that the disease which has killed more than 150,000 Americans is a hoax. It is not.
Chadwick Photography is doing whatever is necessary to ensure you have photography when your wedding day comes. In order to reduce the possibility of losing the business entirely, I have closed down the physical studio location and have eliminated all paid advertising. Rest assured, we will be available for your upcoming wedding or other photography sessions, if we are able to do so and comply with state safety restrictions.
Many of you have pushed your weddings into 2021. I know how difficult a decision this is to have to make. Some couples are choosing to get married in a private ceremony now, and re-scheduling the venue event to a later date. Please be aware that dates are going quickly, because now we have two years worth of weddings all vying for dates in one year. Because of this, we cannot guarantee that you will get the same photographer originally scheduled to photograph your wedding. Rest assured that no one would be on my team if they weren’t capable enough to shoot my own wedding.
What happens to our payments?
All retainers for postponed dates are fully applied to the new date, with no loss of those payments, so long as the new date is in 2021 (subject to moving with no penalty later if necessary down the road).
If you have made additional payments beyond your retainer, your contract is still in force. Your refund will only occur if and when another wedding of equal or greater value is booked for your date.
If you choose to cancel your wedding completely, your retainer and any payments you have made will not be refunded, unless we are able to book another new wedding for your date.
These circumstances are all part of your current contract already. I’m just outlining them for you here.
How Is Safety Being Handled?
In the interest of safety, we are implementing the following policy regarding any photography going forward. This policy will be in effect until further notice. This includes all upcoming weddings. I absolutely appreciate and understand that this is no one’s fault, and I know some of you may feel you are being punished by this new policy. Please understand that is not the intention. We are merely doing what is necessary to keep our team members safe. Photographs are not worth more than lives.
We will be in full compliance with the State of New Jersey’s rules regarding public gatherings. Your wedding photography contract states in paragraph 3b that when a state of emergency has been declared, all payments toward weddings will be credited toward a future date when the state of emergency has been lifted. The same paragraph in your contract also states that if an environment is hazardous to life, that we have the option to leave the event. This is why it is so important that you have wedding insurance!
We do not want to leave your wedding, but we also do not wish to put the lives of our team or their families in jeopardy. Therefore, for any wedding still going forward despite the risks, the following policies are in effect until further notice:
- Our team will be wearing masks at all times, and may wear additional PPE as we feel is necessary. We are going to be operating under the assumption that every single person in that room is an asymptomatic carrier. We love you all, we just will not come near you.
- Previous standards of customer service which require close contact interaction must unfortunately be skipped. This includes the pinning of boutonnieres, bustling of dresses, and use of emergency kit items. We can only provide guidance and advice from the appropriate distance, as outlined below.
- Any photography taking place indoors requires that all persons be wearing a mask and we must have at least six feet of distance from the closest person at all times. If any single person is not wearing a mask, that distance immediately becomes 15 feet. If 15 feet of distance is not available in the space, we reserve the right to leave the space until deemed safe to return. This especially includes pre-ceremony ‘Getting Ready’ photographs.
- For any interior space we are photographing in, we reserve the right to move to another room within the space at regular intervals of no less than fifteen minutes in order to reduce our exposure. We highly recommend you highly ventilate any interior space, not just for us, but for your own safety.
- For indoor ceremonies, a minimum of 15 feet from any person must be available to the photographers at all times. This may affect photographs of the procession if there is not sufficient room for us to move to a spot to get those photographs from a distance. Remember, people are going to stand up. Ideally, we should have room to be behind the altar area with at least 15 feet of open space, otherwise we may not be able to capture the procession from the front. If there is not sufficient room to maintain this distance from guests on the sides of your congregation, we will be forced to only photograph the ceremony from the back of the room. It is recommended that a 20 foot square of open space be made available on every side of the room so that your photography team can move about freely to capture your ceremony from different angles.
- For outdoor ceremonies, we must also be able to move around with at least 15 feet of open space (more is desirable) from wedding party and guests at all times.
- For couple and group wedding party/family portraits which take place indoors, the photographers must be able to maintain a distance of at least 15 feet at all times from all guests and wedding party members.
- For cocktail hour coverage in enclosed spaces, we must be able to have a position at least 8 feet from masked guests, or 15 feet from non-masked guests, at all times. If the cocktail hour space is limited (which is often the case) we reserve the right to ensure our team members’ safety by not being in the room to photograph cocktail hour. That’s usually just a bunch of people eating and drinking anyway, and most people don’t like to be photographed shoving a bacon wrapped scallop into their mouth.
- For reception coverage, our team members must be able to maintain at least 8 feet from masked guests or 15 feet from unmasked guests at all times. This includes coverage of dancing as well as guest documentation photographs (as of the writing of this email, dance floors at venues have been disallowed anyway).
Wedding Party/Guest Cooperation
It is highly recommended that you instruct guests to keep the appropriate distance from all of your vendors. We love you and we want to share this experience with you in the most positive way possible. That includes not asking us to risk our lives because one of your guests refuses to respect this policy. Any guest who refuses to cooperate will first be politely reminded of the policy and that they must remain at the appropriate distance. If they refuse to comply, we will immediately inform you (we really don’t want to have to do that!) and require that the guest be made to comply with the appropriate distance.
If the guest still refuses to comply, we reserve the right to leave the event and in such a case, no refund of any kind will be granted. If the guest decides to make some idiotic political statement, becomes aggressive, and starts coughing or spitting toward our team member or purposefully endangers them in any way, the police will be contacted and assault charges will be filed against the guest. Please take this seriously. That is not the memory you want of your wedding day, so please, make sure your guests know ahead of time that we are absolutely serious about this policy and will have zero tolerance for its violation.
I completely understand that couples are eager and anxious to have their wedding. You’ve waited so long, and having to wait more really stinks. Many couples have expressed that they do not want their wedding memories and photographs to be a bunch of people wearing masks. If this is the case for you, I strongly encourage you to move your wedding date. We’re all for it, and we will make sure you are taken care of with your new date. We do recommend checking with us before you lock one in, though.
If you choose to move forward with your wedding despite the risks, please understand we will enforce this strict safety policy.
If you have questions or other feedback, please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 609-975-9766.
Please stay healthy and safe!