Frequently Asked Questions
We have answers!
What is your photographic style?
Our studio approach is to tell the natural love story of our couples, providing subtle guidance when needed, but causing as little disruption to the wedding story as possible. We remain unobtrusive but always present, not interfering with the wedding day story's organic flow. We provide guidance when needed so that folks will look their best in photographs, but for the most part the style would be described as leaning toward the candid. We capture natural moments, adhering to the belief that act naturally is an oxymoron. We have a positive and fun approach both with candid and formal portraits, because it's important that everyone has a good time - and that translates into much better photographs!
What is it like working with you?
We have a positive approach, helping you and your guests feel comfortable around us. This helps them relax in front of the camera, making the photographs tell a more real story of the people in them. We are always professional, friendly, and helpful. We work hard to make sure you don't even have to think about us during your wedding day. We plan ahead in order to avoid problems and to know as much as possible heading into the day. We do sincerely have a good time with you, but it's all business on the inside. We act and dress in a professional way. During weddings and other shoots we do not drink, nor do we act in any inappropriate manner.
Is there any type of wedding you don’t shoot?
Love is Love. Because Chadwick Photography's philosophy embraces equality in every sense of the word, we will not single out any one genre of marriage and give it a special page on the web site. In other words, we are going to treat every couple with the same love and respect and kindness, regardless of the make-up of that couple. The owner, Michael Chadwick, is an Ally, supporting Marriage Equality and any couple of consenting adults who love each other. We would be honored to be the one to capture the magic of your wedding celebration in images you will treasure forever.
How many hours coverage do I need?
Over the years we have found that eight or nine hours does a good job of documenting most weddings. Some smaller weddings might not take as long. Some weddings, however, might need more hours of coverage based on the interval between the end of the reception and the start of the getting ready process. The general recommendation is to work backwards from the final moment you want us there.
Let's take a typical wedding day scenario and break it down. A reception might go from 7pm to 11pm with a cocktail hour beginning at 6pm. That's five hours. Perhaps the ceremony is at 4pm and ends at 4:30pm. That leaves an hour and a half for post-ceremony portraits and transportation to the reception venue. You'll probably want to arrive 30 minutes prior to the ceremony, and perhaps it's a 20 minute drive to the ceremony from where you are getting ready. That's pretty much 3pm to 11pm, which is eight hours. Add one hour for "Getting Ready" photos, and you're at nine hours.
Now, there are variations on this which must be considered. If you want coverage from earlier in the day, you'll either need to add an hour or two to the package, or have us leave the reception a little early. It depends on what is most important to you. If we know ahead of time that we'll be leaving the reception one hour prior to its conclusion, we make sure the venue and DJ are both aware of it and we get all of the "activities" scheduled prior to the departure time. Basically, work backwards. Do you want the entire reception documented? If so, work backwards from the end of the reception time and figure out what time you want us to start.
At What Time should I be ready for pre-ceremony photographs?
The amount of time you'll need for pre-ceremony photos depends on a few variables. What you should think about when determining the answer is:
Is the photographer we meet guaranteed to be our photographer?
The photographer you meet with is expected to be the lead photographer for your wedding. If they get on-death's-door-sick or severely injured to the point where they are unable to perform their duties responsibly, one or more of the other team members would be asked to perform in their stead. You will always be guaranteed of a competent replacement photographer from our talented team.
How do I reserve my date? What is your payment schedule?
Once we have discussed your wedding needs and determined which package is best for you, I will send you a booking proposal. A retainer is due to hold the date. This can be paid online with any major credit card (get those airline miles/reward points!) or by sending in a check.
The second payment is due one month before the wedding date. The final payment is due one week before the wedding date. Alternative arrangements may be requested such as a monthly layaway plan. You can even have the final payment due after the wedding.
Where should we go, and what should we wear for our engagement session?
e engagement session is a photo session that is meant to tell a story about how you love each other. The subject of the photographs is that relationship, not the place where you take the photographs, or what you are wearing. You want those things to be secondary in the photographs, so while it's nice to have a location that is photographically advantageous, it's not critical to the story being told. That said, we can offer the following advice:
If there is a location that has sentimental value to you which will help tell your love story, that is an excellent location to take photographs which will tell that story. Some people are shy showing affection in public places. If that's you, find some place which will remove you from the public as best as possible. We are not going to force you into public displays of affection if that's not your style, but shyness in general will be avoided if there aren't a lot of people walking around nearby. Parks and nature trails are good for that. Some of the more common places we have done engagement shoots include:
Keep it simple. Don't wear things which are distracting to your love story. The more neutral, the better. Avoid stripes or patterns which will grab the viewer's attention. Keep it contrasting to the environment around you. If you are going to be photographed in a forest in the spring, don't wear something that is forest green. If you are being photographed on the beach, avoid sand-colored clothing or blue tops. If you are doing a winter session with snow all around, don't wear white. Avoid blending into the background.
How long until I receive my photos?
This amount of time can fluctuate based on how many weddings we have during the time of year in which your wedding takes place. The standard "official" answer is six to eight weeks, but we do try to get them to you faster than that. The printed case and USB with your images sometimes takes a little longer due to the printing process of the case itself. However, if the images are in the online gallery and you want an "unofficial" set prior to the really nice USB case getting to you, we are always happy to turn on the download feature in your online gallery so long as all payments have been made. Albums can take longer, due to the design phases plus my efforts to get other wedding photographs processed as quickly as possible.
Are you insured?
Yes, Chadwick Photography carries a $2,000,000 aggregate commercial liability policy and we are happy to provide appropriate documentation to your venue upon request. If your venue requests basic documentation, or "Additional Insured" documentation, please let us know at least a week prior to the event date, as the insurance company has to manually issue that documentation.
DO you offer videography services?
We no longer offer this service, choosing instead to focus purely on still photography. We are happy to recommend a videographer to you.
What is your refund policy?
The contract spells it out in more specific terms, but essentially if you cancel your wedding photography package at least ninety (90) days prior to the wedding date, your retainer (minus any expenses incurred) will be returned to you if and as soon as another wedding package is booked for that date. Once the ninety day threshold has passed, any payments made are not refundable. We sincerely understand that the unexpected can happen, and while we try to be understanding, we lose a significant amount of livelihood income when a wedding is cancelled. It is highly recommend you purchase wedding insurance.
Should I do a First Look?
There are many pros and cons to seeing each other for the first time in a private or semi-private "First Look" on your wedding day. The more "traditional" approach would be to not see each other until the ceremony, but many couples now are opting to have a staged First Look for several reasons. A First Look allows full wedding party and family photos to be taken prior to the ceremony. By doing so, it allows you to potentially attend your cocktail hour. For larger wedding guest counts, attending your cocktail hour (and/or having a receiving line) helps you greet many guests without having to table hop during your reception. It also allows you to be fresh for those portraits and family photos, especially on days where weather is a factor. On hot days in the summer and early fall, having a First Look might mean the difference between your wedding portraits looking fresh and vibrant, or hot and miserable.
If you choose not to have a First Look, it is recommended that you leave a little extra time between the end of your ceremony and the start of your cocktail hour/reception. This way you can still possibly attend part of your cocktail hour. We always try to work as quickly as possible, but if you have given us a large shot list and we only have half an hour because you did a receiving line, you might miss your cocktail hour. Ultimately there is no wrong answer. We will get your photographs accomplished, and we will be happy to guide you through the process of planning those logistics.
Should I provide you with a shot list?
That's a tricky one, and the answer depends on what you are referring to by a "shot list". Some wedding blogs out there will publish an exhaustive list of 259.4 "must have wedding photographs" that are okay for generating ideas, but not for copying and pasting into your wedding worksheet questionnaire. Saddling us with an over-zealous shot list, typing out absolutely every single photograph you might want, greatly increases the risk that we will spend the entire wedding day worrying about the list instead of telling your wedding day story.
While we do ask you to be precise with your information, and not to make us try and read your mind, we certainly don't need to be told to photograph things like the procession, or the kiss, or the first dance. That said, don't assume we know what are the most important photographs/moments to you. In the (fortunately) few instances where a couple or their family members have expressed displeasure over not getting a particular shot they assumed we would know was important (and therefore didn't specifically ask for), it has invariably been something most other couples don't express as important. So, do list the things which are truly important to you, but keep it within the bounds of moderation. Otherwise, we might spend your entire wedding day buried in your list, and could possibly miss some really great and creative shots that might have been much better.
What time should I have you start and end?
The answer to this question largely depends on what you want covered. It may seem obvious, but if you think about it, what portion of your day requires the coverage of a professional photographer? Here are some things to think about when making this decision.
End Time: How much of the end of your reception do you actually need covered? Many of the dancing photos at the end look alike after about half an hour. If your reception has two and a half hours of dancing, that's going to be redundant. Unless you have some super-special send-off planned, you don't likely need us there for the entire reception. A common end time for us is based on about half an hour after the last "activity" is performed. Most of the time, that activity is the cake cutting. For example, if your cake cutting is at 10:00 and your reception goes to midnight, you only likely need us to be there until 10:30.
Once you know what time we should end the day with you, you can work backwards. If our end time is 10:30 and you have a nine hour package, that means your lead photographer would start at 1:30pm. Is that enough time to cover everything you want photographed?
Start Time: How much of your getting ready process do you want covered? If you want to tell the entire day's story, you'll need for our start time to be earlier. But, if you only want the last hour or so of your getting ready process captured, you can reduce the number of hours in your package. You should consider travel time to your ceremony location as well. Let's say your ceremony location is fifteen minutes from where you are getting ready. Let's also assume the worst and give it twenty-five minutes, just in case. If your ceremony is at 2pm and you're planning on arriving at 1:30, that means you're probably going to leave the getting ready location at around 1pm. If you want us covering the final hour of you getting ready (some detail shots of the dress before you put it on, some staged hair/makeup shots, details, things like that) then you should have us start at noon.
Working backwards from the last things you need professionally photographed in your reception, back to when you will wish for us to start photographing for you, will give you an idea of how many hours you will need in your package.
The second (or third) photographer start and end time doesn't have to be same as the lead photographer. The second photographer is rarely needed for the same amount of time. Typically speaking, the second photographer covers the tail end of the getting ready process at the ceremony location, and sometimes gets detail shots at the ceremony site prior to the ceremony start. They then cover the ceremony, cocktail hour (while your portraits might be being done), and the start of the reception. They help with documenting your guests at the tables and around the reception. They also help with the grand entrance, first dance, and perhaps parent dances. After that, they are not usually needed.
What should I put in my Wedding Worksheet shot list?
The goal of creating the shot lists in the Wedding Worksheet is so that 1) no one gets forgotten, and 2) we make an "order of operations" designed to help us facilitate those photographs as quickly and efficiently as possible for you. In the question about the formal group photos, this is (for most weddings) where either before or immediately after the ceremony, family pictures are taken. These are often at the ceremony location (such as a church altar) but can be just about anywhere.
We advise you to begin with the largest groups such as extended family, and work your way down to just the two of you. Be also mindful of anyone who might need to be photographed first, such as an officiant, an elderly or ailing relative, or small children. The wedding party knows they are going to take longer, so put them last. It also helps to reduce people coming in and out and back and forth as much as is reasonable.
There are no wrong answers here. Just let us know who to make sure we get shots of you with. The larger you make this list, the more of your cocktail hour/reception we are going to spend pulling you aside from your celebration to get photos with people. So, keep that in mind when making this part of your shot list.
Some people have researched lists of "must have" wedding photographs on sites like Pinterest and want to re-create some that they really like. We are certainly happy to do that. We do recommend that you choose pictures which tell your story, though.
Do you do table shots?
We understand the importance of documenting the guests who celebrate with you at your wedding reception, and we do our best to get photographs of everyone. If guest documentation is important to you, we recommend two photographers whenever your guest list exceeds 75. Your lead photographer is going to be focused on you, your family, your wedding party, and the people you are interacting with at any given moment. We prefer a more organic approach to documenting your wedding guests, but we will happily do more traditional table shots if you specifically request it. If you do not specifically ask for shots of each and every table, we will do our best to get who we can but will continue to focus on telling the story of you and your wedding celebration.
If you do ask us to document each and every table, we will do our best but cannot account for those people who are not at their tables during the times which are most appropriate for getting table shots within the flow of the day. We work with the intention of documenting everyone at your reception, either at a table or on the dance floor, but we make no guarantees due to the unavailability (or even unwillingness!) of certain guests to be captured during the course of the reception.
Posed table shots are a somewhat dated concept, and sometimes can even be met with resistance from the guests who give us annoyed looks in the photographs. Those smiles can sometimes seem forced and uncomfortable. Also, if you have a table with a bunch of couples and one single person, it can make that single person feel uncomfortable unless we try to photograph the whole table at once. If someone is missing because they went to the bathroom or the bar or to smoke outside, it makes it even more difficult to document them "officially" with a table shot. So, we prefer a more organic approach to guest documentation.
What is an ‘Exclusivity Clause’ and why is it in my contract?
There is a problem which seems to get worse every year, and that is what are called vendor-photographers. A vendor taking photographs of the service they provide is nothing out of the ordinary. In fact, it has understandably become quite common with social media marketing needs. Unfortunately, some vendors have decided it's okay to go above and beyond their services and document the entire wedding day (or at least large portions of it) for their own marketing purposes. Some even use the images of your wedding to market their own photography service, despite them not being your photographer!
Here's what you need to know:
What can you do? Communicate with your other vendors and let them know that you have an Exclusivity Clause with Chadwick Photography. Let them know as well that there is a definite line which, if crossed, we will defend politely but firmly. Read their contract as well, to ensure they do not have any clauses permitting them to photograph your event. If they do, insist those clauses be removed before signing it. If you allow another vendor to professionally photograph your event, you will be violating your contract with Chadwick Photography. We are in favor of vendors having a few shots of their service for their marketing purposes, and we are happy to share our professional photographs freely with them to use for that purpose if they request it.
Be aware that if another vendor is acting egregiously enough and insisting on taking photographs outside of the purview of their service, we will assert our contractual rights as the exclusive professional photographer. If they persist, we will be forced by their bad form, to involve you in the dispute. We don't ever want to have to bring something like that to your attention on your wedding day, but rest assured, if we do so is because we have exhausted all other means of resolution.
What kind of images do I get?
The photographic still images you receive are high resolution jpg files and typically vary in file size from 3 to 20 MB depending on the color content in the photograph and any cropping we might have done. If you wish to have a specific resolution (currently we default to 600dpi), you must let us know prior to your wedding day. There are no watermarks on the full-size set of photos, though on the online gallery photographs a watermark does appear on the bottom of each photograph's online view. Rest assured that watermark will not be on your downloaded photos, nor on the photos included on your USB drive. Your photos will easily be high enough resolution to get good sized prints up to 24x30 or larger before seeing any reduction in quality. While we encourage you to go through Chadwick Photography for any prints or products requiring even higher resolution files, we are always happy to provide our couples with large format individual files when necessary.
What rights do I get for using the photos?
Your contract grants you personal use printing and publication rights to your photographs. That means you can do just about anything except sell them or publish them professionally without permission. Permission to publish them electronically and in print is granted in your contract so long as they have a photo credit such as "Photo by Chadwick Photography" included. Any commercial (for-profit) use of the photographs is not permitted without specific permission. If you wish to use any photograph for commercial use, please contact us to work out the commercial rights.
Editing the .jpg images is not recommended, and technically not within the rights your contract provides to you. While we cannot realistically stop you from editing the .jpg files, we do ask that you respect our work enough not to modify it on your own. Please ask for assistance with modification to any of your images.
How many photos will I get? Do I get all of them?
That's a rather broad question and difficult to answer definitively, because the number of photos we take depends on many factors including length of day, number of photographers, level of activity, and the overall environment. We take multiple photos of any given shot (people blink, scratch, get distracted by a shiny), so what you will receive is a culled set of your day with the best version of each shot. In other words, if we take four shots of a specific couple posing for the camera on the dance floor, We're going to give you the best one of those four.
For a typical nine hour shooting day with one photographer, we will usually deliver anywhere between four hundred and eight hundred photographs. But, there is no hard and fast rule and there is no guarantee of a certain number. It all depends on how much actual shooting time there is, how much activity is taking place, and other restrictions sometimes beyond our control. Each wedding is different, and a Saturday night party with lots of dancing and activities is probably going to result in a higher number of photographs than a Sunday afternoon brunch wedding where people are mostly eating (most people don't appreciate pictures of themselves stuffing food in their mouths). Ultimately, we're going to deliver many photos for you to enjoy, telling a complete story of your wedding day journey.
Do you charge more for working on holiday dates?
We do not charge more for certain holiday dates, but there are certain dates we do not accept any bookings at all. These include Good Friday, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.
Do you charge for Special PhotoShop Requests?
We do our best to avoid PhotoShop editing by ensuring people are looking at the camera, choosing angles which eliminate background clutter and distractions, and essentially getting things right in-camera. Sometimes we will crop things out of pictures before you see them. That said, sometimes special requests are made for editing the photos further. We do not charge for special requests on wedding packages, so long as the cumulative time required to make the requested edits is one hour or less. After that, an hourly rate is charged.
For example, if you are having a beach wedding, we will do our best to keep onlookers and other beach goers out of your photographs as much as possible. Instead of asking us to remove the general public from all of your photos, we recommend just a few you plan on printing are selected where the general public gets digitally removed.
Why should I pay more for something my Uncle Bob can do with his nice new camera?
Nearly every family now has at least one person with a pretty good camera. That's fantastic, and we are all for it. However, owning a nice set of golf clubs does not make you ready for the PGA Tour. A professional photographer is not just someone who happens to have a nice camera. Years of practice, education, skill, and expertise with a variety of lighting conditions and posing techniques is required as well. Wedding photography is so much more than just pointing a camera at something and pressing a button. It's even more than just knowing how to take a great photograph. Wedding photography is a rare combination of photographic artistry and skill, experience, logistics and troubleshooting, psychology, specific styles of social interaction, and concierge service.
Your wedding day is not going to be reproduced for the sake of going back for a retake if something goes wrong. There are no do-overs! Additionally, you will spend months, if not years, planning your wedding day. Your photographs are what will remain, telling the story for you to have and share for the rest of your lives. On your wedding day, there is only one chance to get the photographs you will be looking at forever. If that much pressure was being put on a basketball player to make a free throw to win the NBA FInals, who would you rather trust to shoot that free throw: 1) A top-level NBA star with years of training and experience under pressure, or 2) Your Uncle Bob who has a basketball in his garage and only plays H-O-R-S-E in the driveway not more than twice a year?
Why should I hire you when Craigslist has photographers Who'll Shoot for next to nothing?
For the same reason you don't want to buy a cheap, untested parachute off of Craigslist.
Who knows? Maybe you'll get lucky...
Can I get the “RAW” files? Can I edit your photographs?
We shoot every photograph in a RAW format, but do not provide the original RAW files to clients. The finished jpg images you receive are art which has been created for you. The RAW files are the tools we use to create that art. Asking for the RAW files is like buying a house and asking the builders for the tools they used to build that house. If you wish to have the RAW files as well as the provided .jpg images included in your package, you will need to purchase them separately and a different agreement must be drafted transferring the entire copyright and intellectual property of the photographs over to you and away from Chadwick Photography. Having the RAW versions of your pictures would give you the ability to change the META data (which contains the copyright information) on the photographs. This is a costly difference in your package price (as in, several thousands of dollars) so it is not recommended unless you have a very good reason to have the RAW files.
If you simply wish to have a modification done here or there, we do not charge for post-processing requests like that unless the requests take longer than an hour to facilitate (which is extraordinarily rare). As for editing the photographs yourself, we respectfully ask that you let us do it for you. Most edits you might need are things we do at no charge to you, as part of the overall service you are receiving. Your photographs are our art work, so we want to make sure anything with the name of Chadwick Photography on it is actually something created by Chadwick Photography.
If you need help formatting a particular photo for placement into a product you want to have printed, or if you need them altered for any other reason, please ask us to do it for you. As long as the request is something which takes less than an hour, there is no charge. We will also likely do it faster and better. We cannot stop you from editing a .jpg image, but we do ask that you refrain from doing so. No matter how good a job you think you might do, please leave it to the professionals.
What happens if it rains or snows?
You know what they say: "No rain, no rainbow!"
Seriously though, rain or snow can actually be a fantastic photo opportunity. You should have (hopefully) selected a venue that has a backup plan in place, and running out with cute umbrellas for some quick portraits can be lots of fun!
How long does it take to do family/wedding party photos?
There are a few things to keep in mind when figuring this out:
This process, as with most everything else in your wedding day, should be scheduled with the assumption that it will take longer than you think. It is highly advised that you build in "flex" time throughout the day so that if something gets delayed, it does not throw the entire day into a stressful logistical tailspin. If, after figuring out your family/wedding party photo shot list, the estimated time for facilitation is 20 minutes, give it 30.
How soon should I start booking my vendors?
The very first thing we recommend couples book is the venue. Often times the venue books so far in advance, it can have an impact on your actual wedding date. Once you have secured the venue, the next two steps are typically photography and music/DJ. We sometimes book weddings as far as two years out if it's for a popular time of year such as Spring or Fall. Other vendors such as florists, invitations, transportation can be booked less far out from your wedding day. However, if you have a specific vendor in mind, you should always contact them as soon as possible to ensure they will be ready to provide you with service for your wedding.
Should I get wedding insurance?
It is highly recommend you obtain wedding insurance. Many weddings cost more than $25,000 to produce, which is more than some brand new automobiles. You insure your car, right? Well, you should insure your wedding as well.
Why would I need insurance? What could possibly go wrong?
Well, after 2020 a lot of people certainly learned the hard way. Learn from their fails.
Over the many years we've been photographing weddings, we have had multiple people talk about situations that have come up where wedding insurance would have proven useful. One couple described having to find a new florist at the last minute because they found out the paid-in-full florist suddenly went out of business and disappeared. Another bride had a nightmare situation with her dress. She paid for the dress in full, and then found out the shop went out of business. The designer said they could send the dress to another retailer, but that she would have to buy the dress again! Can you imagine? Well, one of our brides didn't have to imagine it. That happened to her. These are relatively minor 'disasters' in the realm of what is possible.
Some situations are much more tragic and disastrous. We have had weddings cancelled due to family illness. We had a wedding cancelled because one of the members in the couple died a couple of months before the wedding. What if you booked a reception venue that went out of business? What if the venue has to reschedule your wedding due to a city-wide event such as the Pope coming to town? What if on the day of your wedding, there was a huge blizzard or hurricane? What if the reception venue burns to the ground? These are not hypothetical situations. Each and every one of these has happened to some of our clients. If there were some legitimate emergency that required you to postpone your wedding, wedding insurance would cover that as well.
How much does wedding insurance cost?
It varies from policy to policy based on what you are covering and which provider you go with. It is typically going to be a couple hundred dollars. While that cost might seem high, it is a tiny fraction of what you are putting on the line with your wedding day planning. If you want more information about why wedding insurance is so important, here is an excellent article from The Knot on the subject. https://www.theknot.com/content/wedding-insurance-101
can I be a photographer with Chadwick Photography?
Chadwick Photography does not currently hire employees, but instead has partnerships with established independent contractors. The partners we choose to work with exhibit certain qualities and a thirst for improvement. We strive to be at the highest performance level at all times, and that includes not just technical skill with a camera. We continuously educate ourselves in photographic techniques, and also work on various other skills which are useful at weddings.
At this time we are not in need of any additional partner photographers. If you wish to be considered for future opportunities, please send an email with your web site address, your equipment list, and a cover letter describing your experience level and your goals.
I have more questions.
We are happy to answer any of your questions by email or phone, whichever you prefer.