What’s “NORMAL” when it comes to weddings?
2017 was my ninth year shooting weddings. To recap some years I’ve taken all of my weddings, analyzed them and extrapolated some data. I did this in 2013 and 2016.
Wedding clients will ask me “what’s normal”. They’re planning this big event, likely the biggest party they’ll plan ever. They are conscious of budget, trends, but being unique, wanting to have a good time, keep their guests having fun and still have a healthy respect for what the event should accomplish: a ceremony of commitment between two people.
The best thing you can do is hire awesome people to execute your vision. I can help!
What was normal in 2017 for my weddings. I’ll tell you:
1. 2017 Weddings
This year I had the pleasure of photographing 24 amazing weddings. As it happened most of the were in Massachusetts, two were in New Hampshire.
Six of those 24 weddings were “smaller”. Ranging from elopements to small & larger gatherings with a 1-3 hour schedule. We focused our time on the ceremony and some time for portraits.
I’ll define regular as, having a +5 hour schedule that includes: getting ready, ceremony & reception in some fashion.
I love my clients, the places they take me and the experiences we get to share.
3. Average Hours of Coverage
My standard wedding packages start with 6 hours of coverage but every wedding is different and I can help determine a good start & end time. When I ran the numbers on my eighteen “regular sized” weddings which ranged from 5-8.5 coverage hours in length, 6.89 was the precise average.
This shot below is from a simple Boston City Hall Wedding. It was them, me and about 2 hours mostly inside while it was cold and rainy – I’ll tell you that was some of the best two hours of shooting in 2017!
4. Images Per Hour
If you read my frequently asked questions you’ll see that I estimate that I deliver about 75 images per hour of coverage. In actuality the average across all 24 weddings was 132 images per hour of coverage. I am happy to give people more than they expect. I focus on editing down for quality images first. This number can vary for many, many reasons:
- Is there a second shooter?
- How much traveling are we doing during the day?
- How many guests are attending?
- How fierce/raucous/rowdy/packed is the dancefloor?
- Is there a photobooth included? (the numbers above include photobooth pictures, which can increase the numbers)
- Big wedding party?
- Lots of events planned?
This is a shot from Sara & Theo’s Somerville wedding. It was only attended by four family members and when we arrived at this hillside park just before sunset I had to pick the ceremony spot. I had to guess where they should stand. I guessed correctly 🙂
The other anecdote about this image is that I shot this frame laying down. I drew a small amount of attention when I did but they carried on. It was the angle I had to have to get this silhouette and then wait till the right glances in the right directions. Took less than a minute. I shared a post about it on my instagram – have a look.
5. Word of Mouth
Out of those 24 weddings, 12 of those clients were referred to me by a former client, high school classmate, fellow wedding vendor, etc… I think it’s just so fantastic that word of mouth is such a strong part of my business. I believe in karma. If I put good in, I’ll get good out and good will come back to me the next year.
The other 12 clients found me because of an online review or google search.
This photo below is of Laura, Brian & their son Ethan. I photographed their wedding in 2015 and two years later there’s this little guy at Laura’s sister’s wedding. Julia & Henry had a flawless summer day at Wentworth by the Sea.
6. Does Coverage Go Till The End?
At 1/4 of the weddings this year I was there till the last dance / send off. When I’m working with my clients to decide when to start and end coverage, it’s not always a priority to have photography go till the end.
Are you planning an epic Bon Jovi Last Dance? Do you have a sparkler send off planned? Hopping in your getaway car? Then YES, we’ll want to figure out a way for coverage to go till the end.
This wedding had a huge bonfire and some fireworks – YUP, gotta stay till the end!
7. Practice Shoots
I shot 9 Practice Shoots for 2017 wedding clients! READ THIS if you want to know WHY they’re important. They are optional but highly recommended. It’s a huge confidence builder in getting ready to !
Sometimes we’ll also double up our shoot with a venue visit. Right after this sunset shoot on the Charles River we did a site visit of their New England Aquarium Wedding.
These shoots are also a GREAT opportunity to get photos of your dog!! Have a look at Moose and our dog walk shoot.
8. First Look:
Should you two see each other before the ceremony? Totally your choice. Depending on the logistics of your day it could help the flow, momentum or getting you off to enjoy cocktail hour. BUT if tradition rules supreme then plenty of people choose to have that first moment happen at the ceremony.
54% of 2016 wedding couples saw each other before the ceremony.
This was Jenn & Matt’s first look at their winter wedding at The Lanam Club.
9. Church Ceremonies:
Where you get married is a big decision. Probably decided before you pick a photographer.
Five of my 2017 weddings had ceremonies in a church.
Like Allison & Justin’s wedding at St. Mary’s Church in Charlestown
For most couples a fresh air outdoor ceremony is their plan A.
Rachel & Jesse had their perfect outdoor ceremony at The Log Cabin
And for some weddings an outdoor ceremony gets pushed inside to avoid the rain and it was possibly even more beautiful. Adam & Dana’s wedding at The Smith Barn at Brooksby Farm is a perfect example.
10. Second Shooter:
As a wedding day unfolds, it can make sense to double up coverage with a second photographer. They help to get photos at a separate location while the groom gets ready or see little moments that are happening during the big ones.
Three of my 2017 weddings had a second shooter. This is a perfect example of a second shooter. Allana stays with Allison and her Dad as they process into the ceremony. I’m at the end of the aisle with Justin. When I can’t be in two places at once – two shooters is the easy fix.
After looking at all of these great days it makes me so joyful for the work that I do. I see a blending of traditions, cultures and unique touches that make these days really really special.