Questions you might ask when choosing a wedding photographer
What's your primary style?
We feel our style is strongly photojournalistic. We love observing your wedding, paying attention to what is happening and is about to happen, and being ready to capture it as creatively as we can. Most couples also want to have a series of more traditional portraits; we are happy to accommodate their tastes. Our rule is let the wedding flow and to interfere as little as possible.
How prepared for problem-solving are you when you come?
We do all wedding shoots in a team of two photographers, each using state of the art, professional, equipment. Both of us have experience with photographing weddings as single photographers from start to finish. If anything at all happens to either one of us, or either of us has to help somebody else in an emergency, the other team member is fully ready. We've learned that during weddings, various problem situations just naturally arise. For this reason, we've taken to carrying all sorts of "problem-solver" items like safety pins, kleenex, bug spray, a pocket knife, scissors, etc., and thus will be able to help you solve many such situations.
Do you shoot in color or black and white? Or both?
Put simply—both. We shoot everything using digital cameras that are set to produce color RAW files. Any picture from your wedding can be later converted to black and white. Sometimes we feel that some pictures look better in black and white, therefore we convert them for your initial set of previews. Usually this involves pictures taken under difficult lighting conditions or pictures containing distracting elements where the conversion to black and white makes the distracting object virtually disappear. You may also tell us which of the pictures you would prefer in black and white in your final set.
How do you help coordinate my wedding day?
It depends on how you want us to do so. If you have your own wedding coordinator, we would like to talk to them about your plan and point out to them several key points and moments that will be the most important for your wedding photos. If you'll be planning and organizing your wedding on your own, we will be more than happy to help you organize the flow of your day. Keep in mind that for something you'll be remembering for the rest of your life, a wedding is actually rather short: they only last between 5 and 8 hours! We thus feel that good organization is key in order for you to get the most of your day and keep your guests happy.
What kind of input can we have on the direction of the shots? Can we give you a shot list to work from?
Some photographers do not accept lists of desired pictures. But with Slava Slavik Photography, a list like this can be the main subject of your pre-wedding consultation, which we usually schedule one month prior to your wedding or right after your engagement portrait session. We will give you a recommended list of wedding-scene photographs to obtain, and you may add yours. If you wish, we can mail you the list before your pre-wedding consultation, so you can arrive ready with more ideas.
Another question you might have is how much we stick to the list. Well, we usually get between 95 and 100 percent of the desired shots. Please don't be surprised if a shot happens to be missing. In most cases it either was a tradeoff that let us not break the flow of your wedding or was a case where we could not catch the person to be photographed at the right moment.
How many photographs are taken?
We both take more around three thousands pictures for a wedding of typical size and length. We narrow these down to approximately 500 for your previews and the set of final photographs that you will get from your wedding. The excluded photos simply are not representative of our work. We exclude the bad photos (even a professional photographer can make a mistake; yes, we all are human), the duplicate shots that we use to ensure we have at least one superb photo for each most important moment and each formal portrait, and all unflattering photos. In our experience, 80 to 120 carefully selected and well-ordered frames can fully tell the story of a wedding day. For your wedding album, we recommend using between 80 and 100 photographs.
Are you two the ones who will actually be taking our pictures?
Yes! On your wedding day, you will see Slava and Sarah Slavik lovingly capturing one of the most important moments in your life.
How will you be dressed?
We normally both wear black formal attire. But if you have your own preferences, just tell us during your pre-wedding consultation. Naturally, at LDS weddings we respectfully arrive in white shirts.
Are you a member of any local, state, or national organizations?
In 2005, our studio became a member of Professional Photographers of America (PPA), the biggest national association for professional photographers, focused primarily on portrait and wedding photography. We are also members of Digital Wedding Forum (DWF), an association of aproximatelly 5000 wedding photography professionals. In January 2008 we became members of Wedding & Portrait Photographers International (WPPI).
In January 2010 we got accepted into the Wedding Photojournalist Association (WPJA), an international, membership-based organization representing talented professional wedding photographers with strict membership standards regarding image quality and content, creativity, technical skills, and business ethics.
How often do you update your skills by attending seminars, lectures, and classes?
Several times a year. Every year, we attend a national professional convention like DWF, PPA, WPPI, or PMA. Such conventions come with extensive educational programs included. We also visit local seminars (road shows) organized by companies involved in the photography business. Living in one the major US metropolitan areas gives us numerous opportunities here! But the foundation of our photography education has always been continuous self-study and hard work.
What new ideas have you implemented recently?
We'll just mention a couple of the main ones here. We mastered several creative techniques making use of off-camera flash that make such a different in low light photography. We learned how to split our work better and optimize our movements during the ceremony and reception. This enables us to capture most of a wedding's unique moments while being even less obtrusive than before. We also focused on perfecting formal portraits and controlling subjects' expressions more effectively. In 2010, we started incorporating video light for night portraits of bride and groom. 2011 was our "year of natual light". We studied and practiced techniques finding and incorporating directional natural light in portraits and candid shots for their better impact. In 2012 we plan to focus more on artistic "feel" of photographs.
How many weddings do you photograph during a year?
Each year, between 30 to 40 brides invest their trust and hire us to photograph their wedding. See our past assignments in our on-line calendar.
When will you start and how long will you stay?
We always plan to arrive at least 60 minutes before our scheduled time. This extra hour is not counted towards your package. It just gives us time to unload equipment, get the feel of the place, and get ready for capturing your arrival at the wedding place while not yet in your formalwear. For weddings out of town, we arrive two or three hours early, to scout the location and get our shooting plan into shape. We will stay until the time stated in the contract. If you have ordered coverage shorter than your wedding, we will make sure you're informed before we start packing and loading our equipment.
What kind of equipment will you bring with you? How intrusive will lighting, tripods, etc. be? Do you have tele-photo and wide-angle lenses?
We will bring at least three cameras, one of which will be a back-up. We have several prime and zoom lenses, from wide angle 16-35 to tele photo 70-200. We use an off camera flash on a light stand during most of the outdoor portraits and if venue manager and client agree during the reception as well. We do all we can do to avaoid using our lights during the ceremony.
Is your back-up equipment the same quality as the primary equipment?
To some extent, yes. We have one back-up camera for both of us, which is older than our mainline cameras. We have five lenses, of which none are the same, but the main working zooming range is covered by two or three of them. We do feel that even our backup gear is sufficient for professionally capturing the story of your wedding day.
Can we buy the negatives or digital RAW files from you?
This used to be one of the most asked questions. We've listened to the voice of the market here and now include a full set of high quality digital photographs in JPG format, from which you will be able to order prints on your own, in every package. In the past, we the set of files was available for additional fee.
Delivery—How long does it take to get your previews back, thank you cards, your finished album, your bridal portrait, etc.? Do we get to keep the previews?
In most cases your previews will be online within two weeks after your wedding. Understandably, this might be longer if we photograph two or three weddings in a row, like on a consecutive Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Designing your album can take up to three weeks. Once you approve it, expect the final version from 4 to 8 weeks after that. That time is spent by the partner companies that we use to print and bind your album. Meanwhile all fine prints are hand-printed in our studio, so there we have control over the delivery time. Usually we need 7 to 10 days for Fine Art Prints or Heirloom Canvas Prints (gallery-wrapped canvas prints.) Your online previews are guaranteed for one year. High-resolution files are delivered together with the album.
Is an engagement portrait session included in your packages?
Our studio provides deep discount from the normal price of the engagement photoshoot to all our wedding clients. Your engagement portrait session can be done on-location anywhere in the Atlanta area. The prints from this session are extra, but they can be purchased from your prepaid wedding package credit. You will receive all high resolution files together with the files from your wedding on one disc, but we can email your picks before that at no extra charge.
Do you mark your previews? Where and how are your previews marked?
All on-line previews are watermarked with a trasparent logo or transparent text "preview". The final set of files does not have any markings on them.
You might also ask about numbering of the files. We number all files US-xxx-yyyy or SS-xxx-yyyy. The xxx represents client number, the yyyy represent shot number. Your shot number order will be strongly, but not entirely, tied to the order in which shots were taken.
Do I need to help the photographer design the album or will you do it?
Album design is intended to be a job for our studio. However, you can help us if you wish. We hope that we can present a design proposal that fits your taste. The albums are designed to showcase 80 to 100 photographs. Before we start the work, we always ask that you prepare a list of photographs that definitely should be in the album.
Do you work well with other wedding vendors? That is: venues, coordinators, caterers, videographers?
We have a very good relationship with several venues in Atlanta area who display our albums to showcase their property and use our pictures for advertising. We have also met several outstanding wedding coordinators, officiants, DJs, florists, cake companies, and videographers who do not elbow a photographer for a good spot and still get superb coverage. We will be happy to give our input and their contacts. By the way, whenever possible, we always call the venue manager before a wedding to introduce ourselves and set up an appointment to open the venue so that we can check it out personally a few days in advance.
What about deposits and payments? What happens when we can't come?
We take a non-refundable retainer of $600 to reserve your date at the moment when you book your wedding with us. The entire package needs to be paid in full 21 days before your wedding day. Please don't ask for exceptions—they won't be given. You may pay the remainder of your fee at your pre-wedding consultation. You can also set a payment plan to spread the total into smaller amounts paid before your wedding.
Do you take payment by credit cards?
Yes, we do accept Discover, MasterCard and VISA.
Are there any additional charges, services, taxes, travel, etc?
We charge $.75 per mile for travel outside the Atlanta area. We might also ask for lodging when your wedding is more then 150 miles from our studio. Georgia Sales Tax is applied to all packages. Please give us a call or email us for details if you plan an out-of-town wedding.
Are you incorporated?
Yes, we are an incorporated business in the State of Georgia. We live in the north western suburbs of Atlanta and operate Slava Slavik Photography studio in Kennesaw, in a business park called 75 Wade Green Business Center. We are also fully insured.
Even though the last thing that's wise to do for wedding photos is to shop by price, we understand you may well be wondering if our studio is within your budget.
We'll be pleased to help you here! Please start by helping us to understand your budget. If necessary, we should be able to rearrange our packages to fit your budget and reflect your needs. To date, we have satisfied clients with needs all the way from tiny, intimate, weddings that only needed 20 prints to full-budget weddings with an extra set of albums.
We love what we do, and we are eager to capture the story of your wedding, too.
Wedding Photography Directory