Hello beautiful Bride! Below you will find an extensive list of every possible question we think you could have for us! Please read through the entire FAQ and if your question is STILL unanswered then rush on over to the Contact tab and be sure to send it to us! We will get you an answer as soon as possible and probably add your question to the FAQ!
Where are you located? Do you travel?
I am located in Providence, RI but will travel anywhere for your Big Day! I love to travel, especially internationally, and I’ve been lucky enough to do that a lot! If you are thinking about having a destination wedding and want to bring your own photographer, email us today so we can discuss how I price destination weddings and what travel costs are associated with it.
There are so many benefits to bringing a local photographer with you, especially when marrying outside of the country! Stacy Smith Photography has traveled to the mountains of VT & NH for weddings, as well to the Dominican Republic and the Florida Keys! Travel fees do not apply to any weddings within 60miles of Providence. For weddings that aren’t quite “destination” but may still be a few hours away, the fee is $50/hr for the travel time.
How far in advance should I book?
For weddings, at least a year out is best. It really depends on your wedding date. May, June, September and October are very popular wedding months and they book up the fastest!
How do I reserve you to photograph my wedding?
Once I receive a signed copy of your wedding contract and a $1,000 deposit, your date is saved! **Both must be received to secure your date. I accept cash, checks and credit cards as forms of payment.
Do you set up a payment plan for us?
I would be happy to do that for you, although it is NOT required. The initial deposit is required to fully reserve your date and the remainder of the balance is due not later than 30 days prior to the wedding. If setting up a payment plan makes things easier for you, then I will do that. Otherwise, feel free to pay me however and whenever you want!
Are you insured?
Yes, I am! If your venue needs proof of insurance, please allow up to 30 days for me to get that ready for you.
Are your wedding packages adjustable?
We do NOT have set packages! Everything is A La Carte! I will help you build a custom package during our consultation that is unique to your special day!
Do we have to do an engagement session?
Yes, you do! Engagement sessions are included in my wedding collections because I believe they are crucial! It is so important for us to develop a relationship and get to know one another BEFORE your big day!
I’ve got a friend/family member/friend of a friend/my aunt who said they’d shoot my wedding for me. Gotta save some money where I can, right?
Hearing this breaks my heart a little bit. I can’t tell you how many people I know who hate their wedding photos because they had a ‘friend’ do it. This is one of the biggest days of your entire life. You spend months planning, finding the perfect dress, details, colors, flowers, venue, invites, cakes, etc. and trust me, you aren’t going to remember the day.
It flies by and it will be a total blur. Why go through all the trouble if you’re not going to have compelling images to remember it by? When it’s all over, the pictures really are all you have left. Read this article and hopefully it will change your mind! Even if you don’t hire me, I beg of you….hire a professional photographer for your wedding day!
What is a recommended amount of time for formal pictures?
This really depends on how long your list is, but at least ONE HOUR is required! if we can get 75 or 90min, that is always much better and more relaxing. Remember, after family and bridal party photos, we still need time for just you two! Value this time….trust me, it’s the only privacy the two of you will get all day!
If we were to do a specific "Thank you" card picture how long would it take to get this picture and the cards ready?
If you would like a photo for Thank You cards, please let me know your thoughts ahead of time. I can provide "THANK YOU" props and I will retouch that image immediately!
Do you do video?
I am no videographer. We specialize in photography! Hire a pro for this....you won't regret it! We are happy to make recommendations!
We want to make sure we have plenty of photos of our guests at the wedding. Is this something you make a priority?
Yes, yes, yes!!! There are always two photographers at every wedding. The lead shooter will focus on the Bride & Groom while the second shooter will focus mainly on capturing the guests, while also backing up the lead shooter during important moments like the first dance and parent dances. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered from every angle!
Can you photograph in different light settings such as candlelight, sunset, very sunny, night time, inclement weather?
There are three important factors to capturing great images: having the eye, knowing your camera and being able to understand and manipulate light. Lucky for you, we are experts at all of them! First of all, we come prepared with PLENTY of lighting. We can always add light. So, night time photos, sunset photos and candlelight ambiance are never a problem.
However, removing light is not possible. So, what do you do when it’s too bright? You have to know how to use that light to it’s fullest potential. We avoid bright sun. Shaded areas are best but if we HAVE TO be in the bright sun, it’s all about the positioning and lighting. During our “walk through” we will educate you on the best spots at your venue to take photos and why.
All we ask is that you TRUST THE EXPERTS! As for inclement weather, unless it’s raining heavily, nothing can stop us!
Do you offer “off-season discounts”?
Some venues offer these discounts but we do not. It’s often MORE WORK to shoot during the off-season. It’s freezing, icy, snowy, windy and uncomfortable! Our team is more than willing to hike through the snow, walk out on that frozen lake or photograph you while it’s actually snowing out at our current rate!
What is a “First Look”? Should we do one? What if we don’t want to do one?
A First Look is when the Bride and Groom are staged to see one another before the ceremony. Their reactions are captured on camera and then either bride & groom or bridal party photos follow. This a good idea if there isn’t much time in between the ceremony and reception to do all of your photos or if you have a very extensive list.
It’s also a good idea if it’s important to the Bride & Groom to enjoy some of their cocktail hour, which is usually surrendered to formal photos. During our consultation I will suggest it to you if I think it will make our day go better. It can often relieve stress and spread things out more.
Don’t want to do one? Trust me, I get it. I am totally traditional. It’s great for the photographer but not always for the Bride. If you’re not into it, all I ask is that you listen to my scheduling suggestions so that we can feel less rushed, less stressed and more relaxed. After all, if you do feel stressed from cramming it all in…you WILL look stressed in your photos!
How long have you been shooting weddings, and how many per year?
I shot my first wedding in 2009 and have been growing ever since. A few years later, in 2011, I shot 12 weddings. In 2014, my team and I shot 22 weddings, in 2015 we took on 29 weddings in 2017 we shot over 40 weddings! It is now 2023....we time does fly! We now aim to shoot an average of 20-25 weddings per year since we are so busy with portraits at our studio!
Do you work with/suggest any specific vendors?
I do have a list of my own “preferred vendors” I love working with! Check them out HERE.
Do you offer a photo booth?
We did for years but I just retired the booth in 2022. I felt it distracted me and could be stressful. We may get another one in 2024 but as for right now, we just want to focus on making sure your photography is nothing less than PERFECT!
How many images will I end up with?
This really depends on the wedding.....how many hours we are there, if you're doing "getting ready" photos, the size of your families, how many guests are coming, what the weather like, etc… For an average 7hr+ wedding day, we do guarantee you will receive 700-1,000 retouched high-res images!
***It is important for you to know that we are NOT responsible for the locations you have chosen for your wedding day. If you are getting ready at home or at mom & dad's house, there may be personal items in the background of your images. We do not remove these items, but we can do our best to clean up the areas for pictures. Similarly, all hotel rooms and venues usually have lights, electrical outlets, fire alarms, EXIT signs, climate control units, large air conditioners or heaters and other necessary fixtures on the walls.
We do NOT remove these items from your images. If a shot truly stands out to us as a once in a lifetime incredible image, we will most likely take the extra time to remove those items if it is possible. If you would like EVERY image touched up to this degree, an additional charge will apply for the extra hours of editing. However, once you receive your photos, if there are just a few you would like fixed up a bit more, we would be happy to do that for you if it is possible. Just ask!
When will I get to see my pictures?
For portraits sessions, I generally get your images up for you to see in two weeks. For weddings, our turnaround time is 60-90 days. It really depends on the time of year and how many other things we are working on. You do, however, get a sneak peek of around 100 wedding images to enjoy about two weeks after the wedding! These images will go straight into your Zenfolio Gallery for unlimited downloads onto phones and computers.
Do I have permission to print the photos anywhere I'd like? Can I use them on Facebook/everywhere else?
Yes, you do! All wedding packages come with a print release (and the digital files). However, I do ask that you please do NOT print your images from a low quality printer like WalMart, Target, CVS, Shutterfly, etc. The quality of your images will not reflect how beautiful they really are! You can order high quality prints from your Zenfolio gallery! Other products such as canvases, metal prints, wooden prints, stationary and memorabilia are also available right through your online gallery! These products will be shipped directly to your door! You may not sell or edit (this includes Instagram filters) with the exception of cropping and we don't mind if you want to turn a color image black and white. Yes, I encourage you to share on social medica! If you post your images online, you must tag/credit Stacy Smith Studios.
Can I have the unedited files?
I do not release my unedited or RAW files. No exceptions!
Once I receive my images, what if there’s something about certain ones I do not like or want/need fixed?
I allow ONE revision of images per your request. This revision does not apply to the overall style. If I missed removing a blemish from your face, a misplaced hair or something along those lines, I would be happy to go back and fix that for you one time.
What exactly is a Zenfolio Gallery and why is it so awesome?
All clients receive a personal Zenfolio gallery. I never take your gallery down (unless you ask me to) and you (and anyone you share it with) can order high quality prints and products right through the gallery! The quality of these prints is going to far supersede anything you could receive at Wal-Mart or Target. The other thing that makes this way of delivering images so awesome is that you have the option to download all the edited, high resolution images at once! They will be delivered to you via a zip file through email. It’s the same thing a USB or DVD would offer, but you don’t have to wait for it to arrive in the mail!
Do you offer wedding albums?
I do! They’re pretty amazing too. These high quality family heirlooms are built to last a lifetime and come in a variety of cover options, page styles and sizes. I exclusively sell Signature Albums from Millers Professional Imaging in FIVE sizes and offer a wide variety of cover options from linens, leathers, distressed leathers, velvets, acrylic and metal. A variety of colors, text foiling and embossing options are also available. Smaller sizes can serve as excellent gifts for parents and/or grandparents. I will show you multiple samples during our consultation!
Do we get to design our own wedding album?
Once your wedding images are complete, you will need to fill out a design form and choose which images you want in your album. You get to pick the cover style and material, page style and background, specific text on or inside the album, page gilding and a few other options. Leave the rest to us! Your wedding design will truly reflect the style and feel of your wedding day. I haven’t had a complaint yet!
Once we place our album and/or print order, how long does it take to receive everything?
Once the order is placed, these items will be delivered to your doorstep within 3-5days!
Do we get to choose our second photographer?
I exclusively select and reserve the second photographer. It’s usually one of my awesome team members! There are two photographers at every wedding we shoot.
What do the photographers wear to the wedding?
Our policy is to dress professionally. We usually wear a polo, sweater, conservative button down blouse or tank top blouse with slacks or capris. If you prefer we wear something else, I would be happy to listen to your requests!
Do you shoot more than one event on my wedding day?
As a team of five, we do have the ability to shoot two weddings in one day. HOWEVER, first come first serve, so whoever books first gets me (Stacy). Whoever books second AGREES to hire my partner/lead photographer Shawn and will have a chance to meet him during our consultation.
If you are working with Shawn, he will also photograph your engagement session. I trust Shawn 100%.....he has plenty of experience under his belt and has been on my team since 2014!
We seamlessly shoot both in one day but STACY does ALL of the retouching for ALL weddings to maintain consistency in style. Out of the hundreds of wedding images on my site, many of them were shot by my team, but all of them were edited by me.
What’s an ‘unplugged’ wedding? Should we do that?
An unplugged wedding is when you tell your guests to put their phones and cameras away during the ceremony. I have a gallery of ruined images I’d be happy to send you due to this! My vote? UNPLUG IT. You will be SO HAPPY you did! Make a note in your invitations, ask your Officiant to make an announcement and have your ushers reiterate this rule when seating people.
Invite them to be "present" with you during this important time, not glued to their screens. We've got the picture taking covered and I promise you our shots are better.) Plus, we often like to capture the looks on your guests' faces during your ceremony. That's not possible if they're all holding up a phone or other electronic device!
Do you have a portfolio of a wedding that you recently shot from start to finish that I can browse?
Sure do! Here are three galleries from 2022 you are welcome to look though:
How do you describe your working style?
Three things you should know about me:
1.) I am extremely organized and great at leading people. I will also make sure we keep to the schedule. Part of my job is to think ahead and plan for what's next so the day goes as smooth as possible!
2.) I will keep you laughing and feeling relaxed! I'm like that perfect mix of crazy and professional! I want you to have fun when you're with me while also feeling totally secure that I am getting the job done to the best of my ability!
3.) I live for adventure.....so if you've got some crazy ideas, I really want to hear them! If not, trust me I come with plenty of them haha! I'll do just about anything to get the shot I want and it's not unusual to see me get IN the water, lay on the ground, climb a tree....whatever it takes!
What’s your image style like?
My style is very crisp and colorful. I like to lighten my shadows and calm my exposures for a more dimensional look. I love rich backgrounds and contrasty black and whites. I'm not a natural light photographer so if you're looking for "light and airy" shots, I'm sadly not your girl. I light EVERYTHING!
What type of camera/equipment do you use? Do you bring backups?
I use professional grade Nikon equipment. Only the best for my brides! I shoot with two NikonD850s. (I’m the Lara Croft looking chick with the belts and straps and equipment hanging off me!) I shoot with two cameras and two different lenses for different perspectives. I also use all off-camera flash. I have back-ups of everything. All our shooters use the exact same equipment which helps us maintain consistency, especially when photographing two weddings in one day.
Can I give you a list of specific shots we want?
Of course! It is so important that we collaborate on this and I always require a shot list as well. I have ideas up the wazoo but this is YOUR day and I want to give you exactly what you want! I will ask you to create a list of images you want, with what people, as a little insurance for me. I don’t know everyone so my assistant will be checking it as we move along. Often times the bride and groom start to feel a little worn out and want to end the formal photos. That’s when I refer to YOUR list and just let you know what we haven’t accomplished yet. You may be okay with that, but I need to know you are before we call it quits! (We can always get those folks together during your reception for some more candid group shots!) As for posing and prop ideas, Pinterest is a good place for us to build these ideas together. Start a board, give it a unique name, add me to it or share it with me, and on your wedding day we will have those ideas saved on our phones to refer to during your formal photo time.
What if we need to move our wedding date, or even worse, cancel it, after we’ve signed a contract with you?
My contract does state my policies for handling situations like these. The deposit is always non-refundable no matter what. However, if you have to move your wedding date, you can apply what you’ve invested so far toward the new date, as long as I’m available on that new date. If you cancel your wedding, you lose your deposit and if you cancel within 120 days of your wedding, you are responsible for paying the full amount of your contract. It is HIGHLY UNLIKELY I will be able to make up for the loss at that time.
What happens if there is an emergency the day of the wedding and you cannot make it?
If something happens to where I’m unable to make it to your wedding (acts of God, sudden death in the family, severe car crash, etc.) I will do everything in my power to make sure you are covered. I have relationships with many talented photographers and always have at least one on back up reserve in the event of an emergency. However, I shot my first wedding in 2009 and haven’t missed one yet! In your contract it also states that if this happens and I am unable to provide a suitable replacement, I will refund your entire investment.
What will you do if something happens to my wedding photos?
We all have this fear. It’s a scary one! The truth is, it really could happen to anyone. Our cameras are equipped with TWO card slots.....the images we take are duplicated and backed up on the second card, in case the first card goes corrupt, breaks, etc... We also switch cards half way through the wedding. As soon as I get home I do three things:
1.) I take the memory cards from the wedding and upload all the files into the cloud.
2.) I also save them to my hard drive
3.) I put your memory card aside. I have about 30 memory cards and your images do NOT get deleted from that card until they are 100% completed and delivered to you. So, that’s three copies!
Only an act of God could interfere with this but if that did happen (totally a one in a million chance) and I could NOT recover or locate your images, I would FULLY REFUND you for the entire wedding package. I would also cry for days on end, lose sleep and probably get sick over this. Your images are SO important to me. We also worked VERY hard to create them. I FULLY recognize the “once in a lifetimeness” of a wedding day and do everything available to make sure your images are safe.
What information do you need for me for the day of the wedding?
During our consultation we will fill out a Registration Form with all of your personal contact info and a complete description of your wedding day for me to reference. Regardless of when you book me, I always do a six month check-in just to see how things are going. Do you need any help/suggestions/resources? Has anything we previously discussed changed? Or maybe you are just reeeeeally excited and want to tell me all about it! I’M HERE TO LISTEN! At my three month check-in I will prompt you to get your picture list together and ask for other information about your vendors. At that time we will also book our "Wedding Day Walk Through Phone Call" which will take place a few weeks prior to the wedding day. On this call we will go over your original paperwork and the schedule for the day. It's possible many things have changed since we first spoke. I will need your shot list by then to help me create our detailed itinerary for your wedding day.
Do we have to do a Wedding Day Walk Through Phone Call? How does that work? When should we do it and why?
Yes, this is MANDATORY! Why? Well, even if I’ve been to that venue a hundred times, each wedding is different and every couple is unique! This call is used to develop a very detailed itinerary for us to follow on your big day. This itinerary allows us to accomplish as much as we can without feeling stressed. I suggest booking it 3-4 weeks prior to your wedding. TRUST ME….everything I do, the suggestions and decisions I make and the way I take photos on your wedding day is always in YOUR best interest. You are paying me to produce a level of quality that I take very seriously! Plus, wouldn’t you rather feel planned and prepared as much as possible? No winging it on this day!
Have your past clients written any testimonials I can read?
Absolutely! I always ask my clients to write me a review after we work together and we hope you'll write us one also after your wedding day is over! If you google "Stacy Smith Studios" you can read nearly 200 five star reviews written by our clients over the years!