Wedding FAQ’s

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 $750 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 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. I can design your cards and have them to you in just a few days, or you can use the image to make your own cards!


Do you do video?
I have the ability to do short films with my awesome camera….but I am no videographer. We specialize in photography. If you would like a short video snippet of one thing (for example, when the Groom sees the Bride for the first time at the First Look) we can definitely do that for you for a small fee. However, I must be VERY CLEAR when I tell you this video will NOT be high-tech with strong audio and video editing is NOT included. If you’re okay with that, then we can make it happen!


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. 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 seriously raining out, nothing can stop us! But, heavy rain could ruin our equipment and then we are definitely out of business!


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 wedding, in 2015 we took on 29 FABULOUS weddings! Our goal for 2016 is to be at 35+ weddings!


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?
Why yes! YES WE DO! Read all about the details HERE. SO MUCH FUN!

How many images will I end up with?
This really depends on the wedding, the amount of formal photos, how many guests, how many formalities and festivities, what the weather like, etc… I would say most people receive anywhere from 500-800 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, no more than two months. Plus, you get a sneak peek of your wedding day (usually 50-100 images) within two weeks after the wedding! These images will go straight into your Zenfolio Gallery and, with your permission, I will post them to Facebook, tag you and share the album on your wall.


Do you post all of our photos on Facebook? What if we want to keep our images private?
I only post the Sneak Peek to Facebook. You can feel free to post others. (I do require you give me credit for the images, as they will NOT have my logo on them when you receive them.) When you fill out your contract you have the option to keep your images 100% private from Social Media and marketing/advertising WITH THE EXCEPTION of images without people in them. I do reserve the right to send your florist images of his or her floral work or use generalized images from your wedding to market or advertise Stacy Smith Photography but I will NEVER use images with any people in them if you check the privacy box.


Do I have permission to print the photos? 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! My wedding clients receive 50% off the cost of all prints! (Other products such as canvases, metal prints, wooden prints, stationary and memorabilia will be offered at a 25% discount!) You will receive a COUPON CODE to enter during checkout when you receive your images. These products will be shipped directly to your door! You may not sell, edit (this includes Instagram filters, cropping, adding text overlays), or alter the images in any way. Yes, I encourage you to share on Facebook! 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.


Do you offer USB or DVD storage for our images?
Yes! A custom wooden or acrylic USB drive is included in your package and you’re alsoable to download all your images straight from your Zenfolio gallery right onto your own device, as many times as needed! You can share your gallery link with others so they can download images as well!


What exactly is a Zenfolio Gallery and why is it so awesome? 
All clients receive a personal Zenfolio gallery. This gallery is good for 5years and you (and anyone you share it with) can order high quality prints! 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, acrylic, wood and metal. A variety of colors and 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 receive a questionnaire regarding your album design. You get to pick the cover style and material, page style, specific text on or inside the album, page gilding and a few other options. Leave the rest to me! Your wedding design will truly reflect the style and feel of your wedding day. I haven’t had a complaint yet!

PS: When you add an album to your custom package you save 20% on the total price! You can always order an album AFTER your wedding day, but it costs a little more and we all know life goes on and these things tend to get fall by the wayside! 


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 lead 2ndphotographer Shawn and will have a chance to meet him during our consultation.

He will also photography your engagement session if you choose to have one and attend our wedding day walk-through. (As will I…every time!) I trust Shawn 100%. His Biography can be read HERE and he has plenty of experience under his belt! He will also be accompanied by one of our second shooters. He has control of your wedding and I have control of the one I am attending.

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. All of these images have one thing in common….AWESOMENESS!


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 and have your ushers reiterate your 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 i they're all holding up a phone or ipad!


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 2014 you are welcome to look though:

How do you describe your working style?
On the wedding day, I always arrive early to set up and introduce myself to your bridal party and family members. I then make note of any changes I see from our original plan and note those changes on my detailed itinerary. I work hand in hand with your event coordinator to make sure everything is running smoothly and on time. I also like to make sure you (the Bride & Groom) have everything you need. I am here to help you relax and feel stress free! Leave the pictures to me. Need a glass of water? Forget something in your car? I can help you with that too! I pride myself on handling everything situation with grace and professionalism. I can take control of your rowdy bridal party or misbehaved children like a smooth operator. I never create awkward, stressful or anxious moments. My job is to not only take pictures but to keep the mood light, airy and positive while maintaining order! I just love standing back and capturing the moments you didn’t even realize were happening!

What’s your image style like?
My style is very crisp and defined. I like to lighten my shadows and calm my exposures for a more dimensional look. I also love rich, contrasty black and whites and sepias. (During our consultation I will also ask you what styles you do or do not like!)

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 a NikonD600 and a NikonD7100. (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 perspective. I also use all off-camera flash. I have back-ups of everything. My second shooter uses a D7100 also.

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. 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, add me, and on your wedding day we will have those ideas on a mini ipad to refer to during our formal photo time.  If there’s a complicated bridal party pose it often helps to show everyone what we are about to do!

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 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. 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.)  Then I also save them to my hard drive

3.)  and then I save them on my computer

4.)  I have about 20 memory cards and your images do NOT get removed from that card until they are 100% completed and delivered to you. So, that’s four 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… except the price of the photo booth. I would also cry for days on end, lose sleep and probably get sick over this. My job is so important to me and I FULLY recognize the “once in a lifetimeness” of a wedding.

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. I will need your shot list by then to help me plan our detailed itinerary.

Do we have to do a Wedding Day Walk Through? How does that work? When should we do it and why? 
Yes, the WDWT is MANDATORY! Why? Well, even if I’ve been to that venue a hundred times, each wedding is different and every couple is unique! The walk through 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. At our three month check in you will be prompted to start that photo list and we will also book our walk through, and a rain date walk through. I suggest booking it 3-4 weeks prior to your wedding and around the same time we will be shooting, especially outside. I want to get a feel for the climate and the position of the sun. I use this time to also educate you on where may or may not be a good place to take photos. Although you may have your heart set on a particular spot, I may point out a few things that will make that spot less desirable. For example, there may be something in the background you just don’t notice….but I see it…and it might make your photos less beautiful. Or, the sun may be glaring in your face at that time in that spot. If that is the case the result will be squinting subjects with harsh shadows. We don’t want that and, as a professional who strives to produce only the best work, I wouldn’t allow it.  TRUST ME….everything I do, the suggestions and decisions I make and the way I conduct the formal photos 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! You can read over 50 positive reviews right here on my site by clicking on the Testimonials Tab!