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November 15, 2018

Frequently Asked Questions: Wedding Edition

Over the years, I’ve found that many of the same questions come up in my conversations with couples planning a wedding. I’m here to be a resource throughout the photography process as you think through the logistics of your big day and the vision you have for your wedding photos! I’ve compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions for you and your partner to help in your planning. As always, please feel free to reach out to me directly at jenn@jenniferkathryn.com with any additional inquiries!

What is your background and experience? How does that influence your style and approach?

2019 marks my twelfth year as a wedding photographer and 10 years of being in business. In that time I have been invited to photograph close to 300 weddings across the U.S. and around the world to places such as New York, California, Vermont, Florida, Colorado, Mexico, India, and the Dominican Republic. Through my experience, I’ve learned the delicate balance between thorough planning and being flexible and ready at a moment’s notice. Every wedding is unique, every couple has a different story and dynamic, and every time line has unique needs and challenges. I started my own business in 2009 with the purpose of creating a boutique service experience for each couple. To photograph someone is such a personal experience, and I’m here to make it as relaxed and fun as possible, so you can embrace the full spectrum of emotions on your wedding day! I’m here to listen and hear what’s important to you, to create an environment where are you are comfortable to be yourselves, to collaborate with what you have envisioned, and to provide my expertise in planning and my artistry in image making. Everything I do in my business is designed to help you feel calm and confident throughout the process. Beautiful images don’t just happen. It takes both planning and then anticipation of spontaneous moments as they unfold. It takes the heart and passion to capture those moments as if it’s the first time I’ve done so, coupled with years of honed skills to photograph them seamlessly, and doing so for you would be the greatest honor.

How does pricing work and what do your collections include?

Coverage for intimate weddings and restaurant celebrations of 75 or fewer guests begins at $2,500. Complete collections begin at $4,000 and all include coverage by me with a digital download of fully edited high resolution files and personal usage rights. Each client also receives a personal site with links to password protected online galleries divided into sections of the day. Additional costs will vary depending on your time line / hours of coverage, guest count / additional photographers, and whether you want prints, albums, or an engagement session. Once we chat and get to know one another, it’ll be easy to customize something that works perfectly for your needs and budget!

How do I plan my wedding day schedule? How much time will we need for photography coverage?

Taking quality photos requires intentionality and quality time, so it’s important to me to customize your wedding day coverage for you. While the final schedule can be determined a few weeks before the wedding, it’s helpful to nail down some of the specifics right off the bat. My associate photographer and I arrive while you and your partner are getting ready, and we cover 1.5-2 hours of the preparation, combined with a few portraits and detail shots. If you opt for a First Look, we will spend around 30 minutes with the two of you, and 60-90 minutes with you and the wedding party, depending on number of locations. The same approximate time frame applies even if done after the ceremony. Extra time should be considered for traveling to locations to shoot. We should also allow at least 30 minutes with family before or after the ceremony, although sometimes we need more time. I usually recommend including immediate family only as extended family photos can cut into other parts of the day. However, I recognize that some couples and family may value larger group photos more, so as long as we allow appropriate time for each grouping, we can prioritize this. Coverage of the reception depends on your particular collection, but most couples like me to stay for toasts, formal dances, the cake cutting, and an hour into the open dancing. Every wedding is unique, although typically 8-10 hours will allow us to thoroughly tell the story of your day. Multiple day cultural celebrations require a custom time line, so we’ll talk about your needs to determine coverage.

Should we do a First Look/ see each other before the ceremony?

Whether it’s when walking down the aisle surrounded by friends and family or in a private moment before the ceremony, I believe the first time you see your partner on your wedding day should be special. A First Look is your time to  steal a few moments away from guests and family before the ceremony, to breathe deeply and soak in the weight and beauty of the vows you are about to speak. I am there, discreetly, to capture the exchange of love between you. We follow the first look with your photo session of just the two of you, creating a space for you to relax and enjoy one another.  When we are done we typically photograph the wedding party at this point. Some couples choose to schedule their family photos at this time as well rather than waiting until after the ceremony. This also serves to avoid the rush between the service and reception and it enables you to keep the momentum going right into the party after you say I Do. Part of my job is to minimize the stress on your wedding day and this is an excellent way to build in time with plenty of margin so you can fully enjoy your day and celebrate with your loved ones!

8-16-14 Katie + Tristan Wedding Public Chicago + Little Goat Chicago, IL @2014 Jennifer Kathryn Photography

Will you have a second shooter at my wedding?

Mostly likely, yes! I take an associate photographer with me to every wedding with 100 guests or more. A second photographer is able to capture a variety of angles and reactions while I am focusing on the main events unfolding. This also frees me to keep the flow of things moving so you don’t have to worry about coordinating on your wedding day. My second photographer is always someone I trust thoroughly, an individual of proven skill level and artistic style, and someone who brings positive energy to the table on your most important day! If you have more than 250 guests, I recommend considering an additional photographer to help capture portraits and moments between your guests, particularly if having photos of all of them are important to you.

What about locations? There are so many great spots in the Chicagoland area. Where do I start?

I got you!! Helping you choose where you’d like your engagement and wedding photos taken is one of my favorite parts of working together! For your engagement session we have some more flexibility on timing, and so I usually recommend choosing some spots that are meaningful to you and / or locations you love that we may not have time to get to on your wedding day. (See below for more on engagement sessions.)

What about all those family photos? And can we get a photo with my college friends / sorority girls / cousins / work colleagues? How can I make sure we don’t miss anyone important on the big day?

While smiling at a camera for 30 minutes can sound cringe-worthy, I’m here to make this part as relaxed and stress free as possible so we can get you onto cocktail hour and enjoying the rest of the celebration! We’ll talk through all of the family dynamics and who you want to include in your photos, and together we’ll build a list that honors the two of you – and your parents. We can always add someone in spontaneously, but I like to do the work beforehand to make sure everyone is accounted for and included. Cocktail hour is the best time for those extended family or friend groups, and we’ll be sure to make those happen, too!

Should we consider an engagement session?

Being comfortable in front of the camera doesn’t come easily to many, so an engagement session is a great opportunity  for us to get to know one another better. We’ll create a space outside the time line of a wedding day to capture some fun, lighthearted, and romantic moments that really express who you are as a couple. When you get to experience a photo shoot together before the big day, you’re able to let go and trust me more to capture everything that’s important to you. It’s a great way for you to see how I work and get more comfortable being photographed together, and it gives me the chance to find out what works best for you and how to capture your dynamic as a couple. We usually take 1-2 hours to hang out and shoot, and you walk away with some fabulous images to tell the story of your relationship! 

How many images can we expect to receive?

Every wedding is structured differently and several factors affect the final output, but typically I deliver 50-75 proof images per hour of shooting. These have been cropped, color corrected and adjusted for exposure and contrast. Of those proofs, I will choose a select number to do artistic edits with full enhancements, such as you see on my site, magazines and albums. My images have a very natural feel, however, so while I use Lightroom and Photoshop to do some light retouching (including some black & white conversion), I am very careful to deliver images that do not have an overprocessed look. Because my photography style is meant to tell the story of your day, I will eliminate any extraneous images that do not contribute to the final product, but I assure you that you will miss nothing that is central to your day- whether a poignant expression, a quirky moment, your beautiful decor, or grandma getting her groove on the dance floor!

Will I get to keep the digital files? How long do you archive them?

A download of high resolution images with personal usage rights is included in all of the collections. I keep everything archived for at least 2 years from your wedding date should you decide to purchase in the future. Your online gallery will also be active for at least 1 year, and I recommend you make 2-3 backups during that time.

11-1-14 Lauren Buxbaum + Michael Gordon Wedding Soho House Chicago, IL (C)2014 Jennifer Kathryn Photography www.jenniferkathryn.com

What is the turnaround time on getting our images after the wedding?

You will be able to access your proofs online within 8-10 weeks of your wedding. You will have a private password protected gallery to view and order images. It will be divided up by section of the day. Friends and family can also place any orders through my site so you do not have to worry about keeping track of what everyone wants.

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I’m getting married in a dark church. Or, I’m having a candelit ceremony. Can you photograph in low lighting conditions?

Low lighting conditions present their unique set of challenges, and over my years of experience I have learned the best techniques and how to properly use my tools to capture beautiful images in these circumstances.  I currently use two professional level Canon 5D Mark IV cameras and a full range of Canon L-series professional lenses and flashes so your images are of the highest quality and consistency. My equipment enables me to shoot in low light scenarios and allows me to capture close-ups without being intrusive. Although I adore the beauty of natural light for portraits, I have learned to use off-camera lighting in difficult lighting environments such as dark cathedrals, nighttime portraits, and to fill the room at your reception. When flash is not permitted or would otherwise conflict with the mood, my camera sensor allows me to adjust accordingly (known as ISO). The amount of light that comes in is with this adjustment is plenty to capture the colors and details of the most ornate sanctuaries.  Only in the darkest duomos in Italy have I had to use the absolute highest ISO, but it is still amazing to know it’s possible.

12-15-12 Kelli and Patrick WeddingUniversity Club Chicago©2012 Jennifer Kathryn PhotographyPhoto credit required for all public usewww.jenniferkathryn.com

Do you have experience shooting weddings that involve a variety of cultural or religious traditions?

YES! I love when couples plan their celebration to honor their family’s cultural and/or religious backgrounds. I have experience shooting a wide variety of faith and cultural traditions including couples from Greek Orthodox, Muslim, Jewish, Lebanese, Assyrian, Mexican, Turkish, South Asian / Indian, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese heritages. I am passionate about photographing every sacred moment as it unfolds, and I’ll take the time to learn about any special events and traditions taking place so I can skillfully capture the spirit and energy of your day.

Do you photograph smaller, more intimate celebrations, like a restaurant wedding? What are the costs associated with this?

YES! I live for restaurant weddings with good food + wine, great conversation, and your 50-80 closest friends and family there celebrating with you. I have done these kinds of events all over the city, and I always customize coverage to your needs. Whether it’s your ceremony and reception or just a dinner party, I will be there to capture the spirit and energy of your celebration. I’ll document everything as I always do- the candid moments, some portraits if you wish, the food + decor, the laughter and love. Please reach out for more specific details on special pricing available.

Do you travel?

Absolutely! My current pricing includes complementary travel within the Chicagoland area and to the five boroughs of New York City. However, I have traveled all over the world for weddings and photo shoots (including Mexico, India, Italy, and the Dominican Republic), so I’m happy to customize a travel quote to suit your needs!

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What kind of precautions are in place to make sure everything goes smoothly on my wedding day in case of equipment fail, accidents, injury, or theft?

Jennifer Kathryn Photography is fully covered through liability insurance obtained through Professional Photographers of America for up to  $2M indemnity on the day of the event, plus extensive coverage of equipment, materials and files in the case of theft or damage. This also covers finding a replacement photographer in case of emergency or a full refund if a competent substitute cannot be found. See contract or ask me for more details. I always carry 1-2 extra cameras with additional lenses, batteries, flashes, and memory cards in case anything should malfunction. This is another perk of having a second photographer with their own equipment as it also serves as backup.

How do we go about booking you for our wedding?

Once we talk about what coverage best suits your needs, I will draft an online booking proposal for review and signing. Prior to this we’ll have usually had a thorough phone or in person consultation to talk through everything from beginning to end. A 35% retainer will lock me in for your date, with 35% due at the half way point and the final 30% due 30 days before your wedding. (If you are absolutely certain you want to book me but need to arrange a different payment schedule, I would be happy to talk with you about additional payment plan options. Working with clients who value the art of photography is what makes me love what I do, and so the bottom line is that if we are a great fit, I want to do what it takes to work together!)

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