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FAQ for wedding clients

Tuesday, February 13, 2007
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In an effort to simplify my main site, I left off some of the information that was on the old site. Instead, I'm going to post it here in the blog. Hopefully this will be a useful resource for everyone so please excuse the info dump. I promise I"ll post more fun stuff later.

First up is the FAQ for wedding clients. These are some of the most commonly asked questions I get as well as some of the most common questions you will see on the "questions to ask your wedding photographer" lists.

What’s your primary style? Posed, formal, relaxed, photojournalistic, candid, traditional?
While there are still some old-school wedding photographers who pose every photo that they take, most of the newer wedding photographers like myself use some form of photojournalistic photography. A strict photojournalist or documentary photographer tries to show the day exactly as it happens. They try not to affect or change the situation at all.

Personally, I prefer to show reality in a more romanticized way. Even if you get married on a dark, rainy day in a small, dreary room, you will remember the beauty and love of the event. That is what I want the photos to show. I want to take the best photos that I can even if that means that I need to ask someone to move into the light, remove distracting elements from the background, or even ask someone to pose. For the majority of the wedding day, I will just take photos of things as they happen. I do, however, know how important it is to get some good formal portraits of the couple, bride, and family so I usually spend 20-30 minutes taking relaxed, formal photos.

Do you shoot in color or black and white or both?
All images are captured in color but can be changed to black and white. Unless specified otherwise, clients receive a mixture of color and black and white photos.

What kind of input can we have on the direction of the shots? Can we give you a shot list to work from?
Prior to the wedding day, I work with couples to come up with a short list of formal group photos that they would like, but I will mainly be concentrating on the actual events and special moments of the day so that I can document these moments as they unfold. General instructions, such as whether you would like lots of guest photos or would prefer that I concentrate mainly on the couple, are helpful, but extensive photo lists are not conducive to my style of storytelling photography.

How many other events will you also photograph that day?
I do not photograph more than one event per day. Normally, I will only photograph one per weekend unless the second wedding is short and/or I will have a second shooter along to help.

Can we buy the negatives from you?
I do offer the high-resolution, corrected files on DVD along with the rights to reproduce the photos for personal use, and most of my clients do opt to purchase them. I do not sell unedited, raw files as I consider them unfinished work.

Why should I hire a professional photographer?
Choosing a wedding photographer is one of the first and most important planning decisions that you will make. The photographer is the one vendor with the most lasting effect on your wedding memories. With so much on the line and no second chances, it is important that you have a photographer who is experienced, skilled, efficient, and reliable. Professional photographers earn their living by producing quality photographs every time. If you don't get the results that you want, how much are you really saving by not hiring a professional?

Why is wedding photography expensive?
Considering that you are hiring a skilled professional to deliver 40-50 hours of work along with personalized, quality service and products, most photographers' rates are actually very reasonable. Most photographers remain in the business because they truly have a passion for what they are doing, not because they are making a lot of money.

Which photography format do you use?
I shoot all digital.

Will my photos be available online?
Each wedding includes online proofing and ordering in a private gallery. When you share the gallery with friends and family, they can order prints directly through me.

How can I reserve my wedding date?
To maintain a high level of attention and quality, I photograph a select number of weddings and events per year. All dates are booked on a first-come, first-served basis. No date is saved until I receive a signed contract and 25% retainer. The balance is due no less than 30 days before the event date.

Can I have bridal portraits?
I love bridal sessions. Rather than traditional, studio portraits, I offer fun, creative sessions on location. The images resemble fashion or bridal magazine shots more than typical pose-and-smile pictures. I suggest scheduling your session after the wedding so that there is less worry about damaging the dress and the groom can be included.

Will I receive an album and prints?
Rather than choose your wedding album or the size and number of prints for you, you design your own package and include prints, files, or an album of your choice.

Are you available to travel?
I am available to travel worldwide and often shoot weddings outside of Knoxville. Chattanooga, Nashville, Birmingham, Huntsville, and the Smoky Mountains are common locations for me. I also offer special rates for destination weddings.

When will I receive my pictures?

Proofs are usually available for viewing online within 3-4 weeks, but capturing great images is only the first step. My photography takes those pictures a step further and employs artistic enhancement techniques to create your distinct image collection. Each print or file ordered will be edited, sized, and sharpened individually. Because editing the photos can be a labor-intensive process, print and DVD orders generally require 4-5 weeks to process.

Can we meet you before the wedding?
Absolutely. At a pre-wedding consultation, we can go over the wedding schedule and discuss your expectations and vision for your wedding day.

What about an engagement session?
Booking an engagement session is a great way for a couple to become familiar with my shooting style. Especially with grooms who become nervous in front of the camera, an engagement session can make the wedding day more comfortable and enjoyable. The sessions, which typically last 1-2 hours, are done at a location of your choice.

What is a "boudoir session"?
Boudoir sessions are an intimate, personal opportunity to create artistic portraits utilizing your wedding lingerie, veil, garter, or other outfits. Your photos are kept confidential and are only shown to you. As a wedding or honeymoon gift, brides may choose to surprise their new husbands with a small coffee table book or prints from the session.

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Welcome!
Welcome to the Nancy Hellsten Photography blog! This is the place to be if you’re looking for wedding ideas and photography promotions or if you just want to view some great photos and see what I’ve been up to. If you or someone you know are getting married, having a baby, or just want some relaxed portraits with the family, please visit my website or contact me for more information. I would love to hear from you. Thanks for visiting and check back often to see what’s new.
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