Weddings – Booking Us
Q. How do I reserve my date with you?
A. The first thing is to find out if we are available for your date. You can email us at paul [at] upstatephotographers [dot] com or call us at 518-526-9970.
If we are available on your date, we’d love to discuss your wedding plans, budget, and photography ideas on the phone, by email, or with an in-person meeting.
Don’t hesitate to call or write even if you’re at the beginning of your search for the right photographer, and just have a couple questions you would like answered without triggering a big sales pitch. We are always happy to chat informally, and never use high-pressure sales methods. Our motto is “no drama!”
For couples traveling to our area from far away, we can complete the entire booking process over the phone and with email. But if possible, we recommend setting up a meeting with us — meeting in person is a great way for you to see if you “click” and have good chemistry with the photographer(s) who will be with you on your wedding day.
Q. How far ahead can I book you?
A. If you’re planning a wedding for a Saturday during the peak wedding season, we recommend booking a year or more in advance of your date. However, if we have a date available, we can book today, and be at your wedding tomorrow – last minute weddings are always welcome! The great thing about booking us a year or more in advance is — when you book us, you lock in our current pricing.
Q. Who will actually shoot my wedding?
A. All of the photography shown on this website was done by Paul and Brenda, and we’re the ones who will be shooting your wedding. We believe that every photographer’s viewpoint and style is unique, and we think it would be deceptive to show you work by one photographer, and then send someone completely different to photograph your wedding. Also, some photographers go to special “group shoots” and shoot professional models dressed as brides, and then use these images in their portfolios. Anyone can make amazing pictures of models in perfect settings with unlimited time. But there are no staged wedding or engagement photos on our website — everything you see is from real weddings shot for paying clients! We love what we do, and can’t wait to share it with you!
Q. I looked at your price list, but it doesn’t fit exactly what we want.
A. Let’s talk. Our price list introduces the range of services we offer. But we know that many couples have unique needs and great ideas, and we are happy to plan something special just for you! We will always work hard to meet your needs.
Q. What if we decide we want to change to something different after we book you?
A. You always have the option of staying with the original items you ordered, or at any time before your wedding date you can upgrade to another set of options of equal or greater value. This gives you the best range of choices — typically, our prices go up a little every year, but you have “locked in” a package at last year’s prices. But at the same time, if we begin to offer something you think is better than the what you originally chose, you can easily upgrade to it, as long as the total value of the contract remains the same or goes up. It’s a win-win situation!
Q. Are there any hidden or unexpected costs or charges?
A. That’s just not our style. As you get to know us, you’ll discover we are very low-key, and SO not about the drama! We’ll work with you in a relaxed way to build a wedding photography solution that meets your needs and budget perfectly — no matter how small or how big that budget is.
Q. Do you charge for travel?
A. What we charge for travel, if anything, depends on several variables — the size of the package purchased, the day of the week and time of year, where we are traveling to, etc.
Q. Do you require a deposit?
A. Yes. To be fair to everyone we book on a first come, first served basis, and sending us a nonrefundable retainer of $500 formally books and reserves your date. Until the retainer is paid, the date remains open and available to the first couple to deliver a retainer payment to us for that date. The final balance is due one week before the wedding day. The retainer is applied in full towards your final balance.
Q. Is the retainer refundable?
A. Unfortunately, as is the case with most wedding vendors, the retainer is not refundable. Because most weddings are booked so far in advance, it is often impossible for us to replace a cancellation with an equivalent wedding, thus causing a significant loss to our studio. You can see our cancelation policy here. If you are concerned about losing vendor deposits if you have to cancel your wedding for some reason, we recommend purchasing wedding insurance.
Q. Do you have a contract?
A. Yes. We have a contract that spells out exactly what services and products are included in your wedding photography, and the total cost for those services and products. It also lists the various venues, dates and times, deliverables and contact information. We want you to know exactly what you are getting and when you will get it — no surprises, no hidden extra charges.
Q. Do you allow changes to your standard contract?
A. Sure — everything is subject to negotiation! If there are any changes you want made to the contract before you book us, we will work hard to find a way to accomodate your needs. Once the contract is signed, it is possible to add additional services (a more expensive book, a photo station, etc.) but we cannot downgrade the value of the contract (changing from a full wedding package to a two hour package, for example).
Q. Does your contract include a model release?
A. Yes it does. We really appreciate it when couples allow us to show the images from their wedding to other couples. Without that right, other couples choosing a photographer in the future would have no way to judge the quality of our work. However, we understand that some couples or their guests have special circumstances that create an unusual need to protect their privacy, and upon request, we will agree not to use your images on our web site, and your wedding gallery (if you have one) will be password-protected so that only you and those you designate can see it.
Q. Do you charge sales tax?
A. Yes, we are required to collect NY State Sales Tax on any photography that includes delivery in the State of NY of tangible items, such as a disc, USB drive, books, or prints. We are required by NY state to charge sales tax on the full amount of the photography services, not just the tangible items delivered. If all items are delivered outside the state of NY, we are not required to collect sales tax, and will not do so. Before you book a photographer who breaks the law by not charging sales tax — what if the tax authorities shut down his/her business just before your wedding, or before the images can be delivered to you? There are MANY good reasons to hire ethical, experienced professionals. . . .
Q. Will you give us the copyright to the pictures?
A. Every combination of wedding services we offer includes a very broad usage license. We, as the photographers, retain ownership of the copyright, but we grant you the right to use the images any way you like, without getting further permission or making additional payment to us. You can print the pictures, copy them, email them, post them on your website(s), publish them in a newspaper or magazine — the only right we do not give you is to sell them to a third party for commercial use, such as advertising a product or service. Other than that, the photographs are yours to use however you like forever, and we provide you with a USB drive containing the high resolution images to make it easy.
Most couples find that this is exactly what they need, and it is much cheaper for them than transferring the copyright.
If you have a special reason why you MUST actually own the copyright for your wedding photos, we can give you a price quote for complete ownership.
Q. Do You Offer Video Services Too?
A. We offer video for very specific types of weddings – weddings at the Manhattan Marriage Bureau, and similar very small weddings lasting one hour or less. Other than that, we don’t offer any day of wedding videography. There are many talented wedding videographers in the Capital Region, and we’d be happy to give you a referral to one of them.