How to Consult with the Couple on Wedding Photography Proofs
If you’ve decided that your policy for wedding photography is to allow your couple to choose the images to go into the wedding album or to make any revisions to a predesigned album, the first step in the design process is a consultation with the couple.
Unfortunately, sometimes this step can be long and drawn out, because most of the time the last thing newlyweds want to do after the honeymoon is to sit down and pick out a bunch of pictures! Photographers often have to wait six months to a year after the wedding before receiving their clients’ album selections.
To avoid the delay (and frustration) this scenario can cause, the communication with your couple regarding the image selection for the album should start in the months leading up to the wedding, preferably when you meet with them for the signing of the contract.
That way you’ll be able to explain to them in detail how the selection process will work, instead of springing the news to them in an e-mail two days after they’ve returned from their honeymoon. If you established some groundwork beforehand, when you do contact them after the wedding, it will simply be as a reminder that you need their image selections in order to begin the album design.
Here are a few tips to consider when reaching out to your couple:
Give them time to relax: After months of wedding planning and hard work, newlyweds deserve a little time off. Give them a few weeks to open all their gifts, set up the new place, and settle into married life before asking them to get back to work. If your couple has had enough of a break, they’ll more than likely tackle the image selection process with more excitement.
Outline how many images they need to choose: Make sure you tell your couple approximately how many pictures they need to choose for a complete album. Of course the number depends on how many pages your albums include, but generally for an album with 30 pages (also known as 15 spreads), you should have them choose about 70 to 80 photos.
Divide the wedding day into sections: Most couples you photograph probably aren’t album designers, so it may be helpful for you to suggest an approximate number of photos for each segment of the wedding day. This guideline ensures that the couple’s album will be a complete story, not something like 80 percent portraits and 20 percent candids.
The approximate number of photos to request from your clients varies depending on how many pages the album will be, but here’s a general guideline:
10 percent bride and groom individual portraits
15 percent pictures of everyone getting ready
15 percent First Look (if applicable)
15 percent portraits of the couple
15 percent family and wedding party portraits
10 percent ceremony
15 percent reception
5 percent of the couple leaving the wedding
Remind them to select only the best photos: The wedding album is usually proudly displayed at the newlyweds’ home, so remind them that only the very best photos should be chosen.
Having a deadline for album completion can be extremely helpful to you so that you’re not working on last year’s client albums in the middle of the next year’s busy wedding season. However, not all your clients will be good at meeting deadlines, so you may want to consider setting up an incentive for them to do so:
Past deadline fees: Some photographers include a clause in their wedding contract stating that if a couple doesn’t choose their images for the album by a set deadline, the couple will have to pay additional fees to receive their album.
Loss of input after deadline: Another option is to state in the contract that if the couple fails to select the photos by the deadline, then you will proceed to design the album on your own without the couple’s input.