How long have you been a wedding photographer?
I have been photographing weddings as a lead photographer since 2012. In 2011, I spent over 100 hours at weddings with experienced photographers to assist and learn.
Did you go to photography school?
I am self-taught in photography. I have a degree in entrepreneurship, although I’ve learned a lot of business stuff through experience as well.
Are you a full-time, professional wedding photographer?
I officially went full-time in 2013, however there are many amazing photographers who also have 8-5 jobs, so please don’t base too much of your decision on that.
Do you have backup equipment?
Yes. I usually have backups for my backups. You can’t go back and redo your wedding day, so regardless of who you hire to photograph your wedding, be absolutely sure that they have backup equipment (camera bodies, lenses, memory cards, etc). I also back up my memory cards at the end of each wedding on two external hard drives and in the Cloud.
What is your approach to shooting weddings?
I like to consider my approach laid back but structured. Let me explain. There are certain parts of the day where I tend to stay out of the way and photograph things as they naturally happen, with little to no guidance. Other times, like for couple portraits or wedding party photos, more direction is needed. Weddings usually operate on a pretty strict schedule, so if someone is dilly-dallying, I have no problem speaking up (in a friendly way, of course) so we can get the photos we need. I’ve also been complimented on my ability to direct groups – a bridesmaid at a recent wedding said she was very impressed because at a lot of weddings she’s attended, the bride would ask “what should we do for photos?” and the photographer would reply, “I don’t know, what do you want to do?” Not cool. It’s my job to see cool locations, poses, and photo ideas and make it happen.
Do you photograph group shots / family formals?
Absolutely. Before the wedding, we’ll discuss the different family groupings you’d like captured. This is the part of the wedding day where I tend to be more assertive. We usually have very limited time to get the list of family photos done, so I try to shuffle people through as quickly as possible. Efficient might be a better word than assertive ;)
How many photographs will we receive?
On average, an 8 hour wedding will yield 400 photos. Sometimes less, sometimes more. This, of course, depends on many things throughout the day: how much time is scheduled for couples portraits, how big the wedding party is, how much people dance at the reception, etc.
Do we receive the image files and copyrights?
After your wedding, you will receive an online gallery with all of the finished, edited images from the wedding. Rachel Ruffer Photography maintains the copyright for all photos, but you will be given a print release and usage rights document which will allow you to make as many prints as you’d like and share the photos on social networking sites (photo credit is always appreciated!).
Will the photos be edited? Can you edit them a specific way?
Yes, your final images will be edited. Most professional photographers have, over time, developed a signature editing style. Every photographer has slightly different styles, so it’s important to choose a photographer whose style you love. For example, my editing style is very clean and bright, with true-to-life colors and no over-processing. I’m also extremely picky about black and white photos, so there may only be a handful of those per wedding.
If you’re not sure exactly what style is your favorite, a good way to tell is to look through the wedding photos you’ve pinned on Pinterest. Are they crisp and vibrant? Are the colors more muted/faded, resembling old film? Is there a lot of post-processing and color overlays? Once you’ve found a pattern, you can then find a photographer who has a similar style.
Can we have all of the photos you take?
At an average wedding, I will come home with about 2,000 raw image files, so you may be wondering why you only receive around 400. What most people don’t understand is that many of these photos are duplicates (or nearly the same), to ensure proper focus, no blinking/talking/yawning/looking away/etc. Some of the photos are also test shots to determine lighting conditions and camera settings. I take the time after the wedding to go through and discard all of those “bad” photos so you don’t have to. This means you end up with a curated set of images you absolutely love that tell the story of your day.
Can I give you a list of specific shots we would like? What about photo ideas from Pinterest?
Let me just say, I absolutely adore Pinterest. It is so amazing for getting inspiration, gathering ideas, and finding patterns in the photos we’re attracted to. These photos are great to use as inspiration, but you’ll have limited time for photos on your wedding day, and you don’t want to spend that time fiddling with the Pinterest app or papers with printed ideas. You want to enjoy your day and spend time with your spouse! The photo ideas you’ve pinned can help us decide what kind of look you’re going for (playful, romantic, laughing, posed, etc), but my goal is to create images that are completely unique to your wedding day, instead of photos that are a direct copy of someone else’s day.
Some of the big name wedding website will also give you a list of “photos you don’t want your photographer to miss.” Rest assured, most of these photos I am already completely aware of (i.e. detail shots, bride walking down the aisle, first kiss, cake cutting, etc). About 5-6 weeks before the wedding, I do send out a pre-wedding questionnaire that will allow you to let me know of any unique things happening at your wedding, as well as gather a list of family photo groupings.
You can Photoshop that, right?
I’m not sure when “photographer” became synonymous with “Photoshop retoucher.” I’m happy to remove any minor imperfections such as a zit on your chin, but I strive to get everything as close to perfect in camera. This eliminates computer work and allows me to get your photos back to you sooner! Any in-depth retouching you’d like done gets sent to my retoucher for an additional fee.
How far will you travel for my wedding?
I’ll travel to the moon and back for your special day! In all seriousness, I am based in Waterloo, Iowa but absolutely love shooting in new places. All weddings within 125 miles of Waterloo, Iowa have no travel fee, and weddings outside of the 120 mile radius are custom quoted. There are certain places around the country that I would give anything to shoot at. So for those locations, you pay my travel expenses and I’ll shoot your wedding for free. And even if you’re not getting married at one of those places, let’s chat. It might just be that I’ve never heard of how awesome your location is!
I really like you, but need some time to make a final decision. Can you hold my date?
Unfortunately, booking is on a first come, first served basis. A signed contract and retainer fee is required to reserve your wedding date!
If I email you, when can I expect a response?
Emails are responded to during my normal office hours of 9:00am to 4:00pm, Monday-Friday. I do not answer emails over the weekend, as I am usually either shooting weddings, traveling, or snuggling with my husband and pup. I try to respond to all emails within 2 business days, so if you haven’t heard back from me, please check your spam folder and contact me again.