(At least, what it’s like working with ME as your photographer.)
You may be nervous about working with a professional photographer for a number of reasons. Maybe you’ve never had your portraits taken before. Or you really don’t like being in front of a camera. The number of people who don’t like having their pictures done is quite surprising. You’re not alone in feeling this way!
Whatever your reasoning, sometimes knowing the process helps ease any anxiety. For most people, working with a photographer is not a common thing, so there’s a lot of unknowns. Let me share with you what it’s like to work with me as your photographer.
When you first reach out via my contact form, I’m most likely already sitting at my computer working on something. Unless it’s the weekend, that is. The form is the first step in getting to know you, so the more details you share, the easier it is for me to start the process of getting to know you.
I do ask that all couples who want to work with me jump on the phone for a 30-ish minute chat. You could be inquiring for an elopement, wedding, or adventure session. Seem like an extra step? Sure. But it’s to make sure that we connect on a deeper level versus you just liking the end result of the creative process.
When you love a creative’s finished piece, you have to respect the road it takes to get there. And in my case, that means learning about you, your partner, and your love story.
Yes, there are times where sometimes a couple and I are just not a good fit. And that’s perfectly okay! I’m not going to be for everyone. For weddings and elopements especially, it’s so incredibly important that you vibe with your photographer because they’re going to be with you for your entire wedding day. If we aren’t a good fit, I’ll suggest some other amazing photographers who I think will be.
Once you’ve decided that I’m the photographer for you, I’ll send over a contract for you to review that clearly lays out expectations and boundaries to protect everyone involved. To officially book your date/time a retainer is required. In your contract you’ll be able to see things like your payment schedule, my zero-tolerance discrimination policy, and After you sign the contract and pay the retainer, you’re officially booked. That’s when the real fun begins. I’m available to you basically 24/7 to help with all your wedding/elopement/adventure session planning needs.
Speaking of planning, the planning portion of our time together is where we will really get into the details of your relationship, what you want out of your wedding day or adventure session. If you’re having me custom create an experience for you, I really have to know about who you and your partner are; including the things that you enjoy doing together. You’ll spend the most time working with a photographer here in this stage.
You’ll get access to my Client Lounge, which is a central hub of information designed to help you along in the elopement, wedding, or adventure session planning process. Within it are planning guides, how-to videos, and questionnaires that are designed to be date-night-like events for you and your partner. The responses you share through the questionnaires will help me craft an ideal elopement, or adventure session just for you. We will work together to make sure that you get everything that you envision for your day with me.
One thing that I always encourage my wedding/elopement couples to do is to opt for an engagement session. (I tend to call these Adventure Sessions.) You’ll get first hand experience with me while you’re in front of the camera. It will help you immensely come the day of your wedding because you’ll know what it’s like with me around. Which is way better than meeting for the first time on the day of your wedding, in my opinion.
When your session day arrives, you’ll likely feel nervous. That’s okay! It’s perfectly normal. Your session with me isn’t a full on photoshoot where I prop you up in front of the camera in unnatural poses the entire time. If you’re looking for a super posey, traditional and stiff photographer, I am not the photographer you should work with. That being said, I lead my couples into the session via poses to get you comfortable in front of the camera. As the session progresses, poses become prompts, and prompts become observation. We will chat, and have fun exploring the location you’ve chosen for your session.
Don’t worry if you don’t know what to do with your hands, or where you should look. I’ll prompt you and give you directions as needed. I promise not to leave you hanging in front of the camera. I encourage all my couples to just breathe, be themselves, and focus on their partner.
Within 1 week of your session, you will have a fully edited, high-resolution gallery delivered to your inbox for you to enjoy. A print release will be given, so feel free to share the images on social media or print them for display in home or at your reception.
On the day of your wedding or elopement, I’ll arrive roughly 15-20 minutes earlier than the time we planned so I can get feel for the location you’ve chosen for your getting ready space. I’ll start with photographing details (e.g., dress, invitation suite, jewelry, etc.) when I arrive. This helps you become accustomed to me being in the same space.
My aim is to tell your day like visual novel, because it is, in essence a story. So I’ll be unobtrusively capturing the moments as they unfold. I will always work in the background, but will always be available should you need help or anything from me.
Within 2-3 weeks after your wedding day, you will have a special email arrive to your inbox. Sit down with your partner and look through the visual novel of your wedding day. Allow yourself to feel all the things you felt on your wedding day as you look through them. When you’re ready, opt for some professional prints (canvas prints are my favorite for portraits, metal prints are my favorites for landscapes) so you can have a physical copy of your most treasured moments forever.
While I can’t speak for all photographers 100% of the time, I can give you a pretty good glimpse of what it’s like working with a photographer. It can be unnerving, but I promise you that many of us are genuine people who are truly invested in you and your love story.
I'm donna marie
An adventurous destination wedding and elopement photographer livin' in upstate New York. I'm here to empower all couples to create an intentional wedding day that focuses on the experience and the feels.