A Wedding Photographer in Dublin, Ireland: All the FAQs

The Wedding Photographer's Assistant

I thought we might kick off this new blog with some FAQs. It’s been our experience as wedding photographers in Ireland that, after shooting hundreds of weddings, it really doesn’t matter what kind of wedding we’re asked to shoot, whether it’s a large or small affair, or a wedding set in an Irish Castle or on a farm, that the questions couples always ask are pretty much the same. So, to make things easy, we’ve put together a list of the most common ones, and what our answers to them are. One of the top questions we get is about the weather, and what to do if it rains. The other popular question is about whether couples get all the photos shot on their wedding day, or just a few that we select. If you have any questions that aren’t listed below, send them on and we’ll do our best to answer them.


Is your wedding photographer’s website and portfolio up to date?

During the Summer and Autumn months we tend to be very busy, so we don’t update the website with much wedding photography. Updates to Dublin Wedding Photography’s main website tend to happen in Winter and Spring, so it’s worth checking back then because we usually have a sale on in January.

We use Instagram and Facebook more regularly throughout the year, though we’ve stopped using Twitter because life’s too short. Google is a good place to go to see what our clients have to say about working with us when we’ve shot their wedding, we love the reviews we get for our work as wedding photographers and it’s lovely to be able to stay in touch with couples afterwards. Referrals are a big part of any wedding photographer’s business and we’re lucky that side of things seems to get bigger every year as family and friends see our work.


Do your wedding photographers know your wedding venue?

As wedding photographers based in Dublin we prefer to work within an hour and a half of Dublin Airport, sometimes a bit further afield depending on the couple and venue. Mostly we photograph weddings in Dublin, Louth, Meath, Kildare and Wicklow, but we do travel to Monaghan, Cavan, Westmeath, Laois, Carlow, Kilkenny and Wexford when the mood takes us.

We’re well used to most of the wedding venues in those counties, whether they’re Irish Castles or Country Estates, hotels or restaurants, farms or adventure centres - we’ve pretty much seen it all as wedding photographers in Ireland. If, on the rare occasion, we haven’t been to a wedding venue in Ireland, we would always make it a point of meeting couples there before the wedding so that we can get a sense of how the day will flow, and what attracted couples to the wedding venue. Couples will always have ideas about what they like about a venue whether it’s the grounds or the interiors, they might even have a particular type of wedding photograph in mind and we would do our best to make that happen.

Talking to couples about their wedding day in Ireland and what they expect from us as wedding photographers is a big part of planning how to approach any wedding photography assignment. As wedding photographers we really see ourselves as observers of people, we’re their to document what happens during the day, all the excitement and emotions, but we’re also portrait photographers and our job is to create romantic wedding photographs that will create the best memories of a wonderful day for the rest of people’s lives.


How many weddings has your wedding photographers shot?

We started doing wedding photography full-time in 2014 and we regularly shoot around 35 wedding a year. Before that we had always shot weddings for family, friends, and colleagues, simply because everyone knew us as photographers since we met in college where we both received a Degree in Visual Communications, majoring in Photography, and we can’t say no.

Prior to setting up Dublin Wedding Photography, Mike and Jill have both been professional photographers. Jill has been a professional advertising photographer in Dublin since she left college - she specialises in food, regularly working with clients such as Tescos and Dunnes Stores. Mike has a more varied background, working as a designer and copywriter in advertising, as well as specialising in retouching and taking on documentary and landscape photography projects when he has time.

Mike and Jill have very different approaches as wedding photographers. Jill is particularly good at editorial styled wedding photography, the kind of loosely posed set ups that you might see in magazines and advertising - not surprising given her background. Mike has a more informal approach, preferring to work away from the centre of attention he looks to document those moments couples might not see throughout the day, or capture more relaxed portraits of couples when they’re unaware - he also loves shooting the evening dances when people really let loose with their best moves.

because of our backgrounds in different types of photography we believe we have a unique approach to how we shoot weddings. In Ireland there’s not too many couples who shoot weddings but we think it’s important as it gives clients that extra viewpoint and an extra level to what can be achieved. We have a wealth of experience as professional wedding photographers, and because we’re married we work in a particular way that most couples can relate to - we’ve been in competition with each other since college and sometimes we play nice ;)


Do your wedding photographers work from a shot list?

Please don’t ask us to!
Every wedding on this site was shot on the fly, just us doing what we do. If we have to spend time working through a list of shots we won’t be comfortable and we will be so focussed on ticking boxes that we won’t be paying attention to things the way we usually do. If you like what you see on the website you’ll get something similar, but if you’re a stickler for getting every shot you can imagine because you’re working from a list then perhaps you might be better suited to another wedding photographer.

Wedding days are busy and emotional, but there are phases that the day can be broken down into. We will work with you to agree a schedule for the day so that everyone knows roughly what will happen and when, but it’s really just a guide to help couples see where they can catch their breath or how long they have for each part of the day. The hardest and least interesting part of the day for most people is shooting group photos, but it’s also the part of the day that can cause friction between the couple and their families as individuals go missing - which chews up enormous amounts of time. We suggest 5 - 10 group shot maximum, and to have everyone on standby so we can get through it in 15 minutes. Any other group shots work best if they’re informal, couples are advised to just grab one of us when they’re with a bunch of friends and we’ll take a quick shot.


Does your wedding photographer work alone or use a second shooter?

Many years ago we each have shot a couple of weddings as single photographers, never again. We find we work much better as a couple, just having someone else close by to bounce ideas off in the moment is really very cool. It also means we can relax knowing we have coverage, or that one of us is free to concentrate on something that might be happening elsewhere while the other works away. We can also get through things faster, one of us might shoot close while the other shoots wide, or one of us sets up a shot while the other takes it - having two professional wedding photographers on hand just means couples have more options, different points of views and styles when it comes to their final wedding photographs.


Do your wedding photographers cover both the Bride and Groom’s preparations?

As wedding photographers we think it’s important that couples get to see every part of their wedding day which is why we like to split between the Bride and Groom in the morning where possible. Mike usually goes to the groom, which tends to be the most relaxed place to be on a wedding morning. Jill goes to the Bride, which is always busier. Mike will go to the ceremony venue with the groom and photograph guests arriving, which allows Jill to stay with the Bride and for everyone still to get images from the build up to the day’s proceedings.


Does your wedding photographer charge extra for a second shooter?

We have a flat fee structure to being wedding photographers, with three basic packages that cover almost every aspect of the day to match couples’ requirements. These flat fees include travel and having a second wedding photographer - we’re married, so there’s no third party expenses to cover. We enjoy working together as a team, we have our own way of doing things, our own shorthand way of communicating, and our own sense of humour that another photographer might not get. We’ve only ever had to bring in a different photographer once, when one of us was ill, and we covered that cost ourselves.


Will your wedding photographer help you organise your wedding day?

Of course!
We’ve shot hundreds of weddings and have no problems helping out with giving advice from the experiences we’ve had. For the day itself we’ve developed a form which we send out to couples a couple of weeks before their wedding, it’s mainly for contact details, timings, and making note of any particular things that we should watch out for and maybe a few shots in particular that couples would like to see. Once we get the form back we’ll run through it and if anything needs to be clarified we’ll talk to the couple. As wedding photographers we like things to feel natural and for couples to be relaxed, so once we get the form back we’ll put together a shooting schedule for the day - it really just breaks the day down into phases for each couple so that they know what to expect, and we’ll be with them for most of the day so we’re always on hand to help out. When couples know there’s a plan, even if it’s just a rough guide, they’ll feel more at ease and we know we’ll get better photos.


What will your wedding photographer do if it rains?

It really doesn’t rain as often as people think in Ireland, which is good for your wedding photographers. We talk to couples about their wedding day when we first meet them, and for the most part they forget that the majority of their wedding day will take place indoors. Morning prep and the evening meal onwards are typically indoors. The ceremony is usually indoors, although there are far more options these days to hold ceremonies outside nearly every venue will have a plan in place should the weather not behave. Any family group shots can be taken indoors. So, really, the only part of the day that might suffer excessively from being indoors is when we take couples for their wedding portraits. Obviously, we love to shoot outdoors where possible, and we can say that it’s really very rare for a wedding to be completely rained out; we’ve managed to grab 10-15 minutes outside during October storms and still got some amazing wedding photos, and that’s all we need. If we get a break in the weather at any time in the afternoon, or evening if it’s the summer, we can do what we need to quickly and efficiently.

Most venues have some interior feature that we can use if the weather is particularly bad, even if that just means having access to large windows that provide decent light, or a photogenic stairway, or maybe a room that could be utilised. Do ask your wedding photographer what their plan might be should the weather be bad, what alternatives do they suggest.


How long will your wedding photographers stay?

Wedding photographers in Ireland tend to finish up either at the call-to-meal or after the first couple of dances; if there are speeches before the meal then there may be a charge to cover them as an extra.

With us as your wedding photographers there are a few cut-off points:

  1. We finish at the call-to-meal once everyone is seated, with a cut-off of 5.30pm and no speeches.

  2. We can stay to photograph the speeches if they’re before the meal, but this will incur an extra fee of €100.

  3. We stay for the first few dances in the evening with a 10.30pm cut-off.

  4. We can stay later than 10.30pm, but this incurs an extra hourly fee of €100ph or part thereof.


Will couples get all the photos taken on their wedding day or just a selection?

We don’t know why wedding photographers in Ireland, or anywhere else for that matter, don’t supply all image files shot on the wedding day. Back when film was the only option, photographers kept the negatives so that they could make money from prints, which was a large part of their income. Wedding photographers back then would shoot far fewer wedding images than today, simply because film was expensive and there were only so many shots on a roll - we used to shoot weddings on medium format cameras that had 12 shots on a roll!! Film was, and still is, pretty expensive to buy, process, and create prints from.

However, with digital, there is no real cost except for time. Whereas with film a wedding photographer might only shoot between 100 and 200 frames, shooting digitally allows wedding photographers to be a lot freer, shooting 2000 to 6000 or more images per wedding isn’t uncommon. Obviously, the photographer has to edit these down and process the selected images - or farm them out to third-parties to do that for them - so the issue is one of time. We process our own images here at Dublin Wedding Photography, and it takes anywhere between 3 to 4 days to sort and process each wedding after we’ve shot it.

If we shoot 4000 images at a wedding we might edit that down to 300 or so to process, so what happens to all the other images we don’t select? Should we just dump them all?

Obviously, we won’t know everyone at your wedding. So what happens to that photo of an aunt or an uncle that we haven’t chosen to process, but that might have some meaning to the couple? With most wedding photographers in Ireland couples will never see an other images other than what their wedding photographer has chosen for them to see, which seems somewhat odd.

We’re happy to hand over everything we shot on the day of your wedding, because why not. Yes, of course, you’ll see plenty of images that are just variations of the ones we’ve chosen to edit - especially with group photos where someone is always blinking in one frame or another. There will be shots that are too dark or too light while we take light readings and adjust exposures, there will be shots of set-ups we might not use because one or other of us has a better shot that’s similar in a different location. And, yes, there will be shots that are out of focus too, even if it’s just by the smallest of margins - Mike likes to shoot with a fast lens, as close to wide open as he dares, which means the depth of field is extremely narrow, which is why he shoots far more than Jill. That aside, there will always be more photos than we know will fit in an album or book, but that’s no reason to delete something that might be fun for others to have.

Seriously, as much as we love meeting couples and photographing weddings, maybe using some images on our website, we have no use for them once an assignment is completed. It doesn’t cost us anything extra to hand over all the files, and we’re not losing anything by doing so. Maybe it’s just us, but we’d be curious to see if any other wedding photographers in Ireland offer the same level of access to their work - I’m sure they have good reasons not to, we just can’t think of any.


Do couples get the camera RAW files, or just processed JPGs?

Again, once we shoot and process a wedding in the manner we’re happy with, we really don’t have much use for anyone’s wedding photographs other than to promote our work. While we will always own the copyright to the photos, as we created them, we’re more than happy for couples to use them in any way they see fit - if they want to use them commercially, that’s cool too, as long as we get a credit. To that end, we don’t just hand over the JPG files, but the camera RAW files too. Lots of couples have an interest in photography, so why not let them process their wedding photographs any which way they want?


Does your wedding photographer retouch images, and are there costs involved?

With Jill’s background in advertising photography and Mike’s in retouching we’re more than used to retouching photographs. Lots of couples make light-hearted remarks about wanting to be photoshopped, but in reality there’s hardly ever any need to do so. We will fix minor blemishes if we deem it a distraction - a scratch where a groom has shaved a bit too closely, or a spot, for example - but generally there’s no need. The vast majority of our time processing wedding photographs is adjusting for brightness, contrast, colour tones, all of which are just fine tuning what’s already there.


Does your wedding photographer process the images or just farm them out to a third party?

We edit and process all our own work. Unlike other wedding photographers in Ireland who might use others to edit and process what they’ve shot we’ve always liked the control and creativity that comes with seeing things are done our way, we’re just not comfortable handing our work over to others to process. Yes, it can be more time-consuming to do things the way we want, but we it not only saves us the expense of hiring in others it also gives us more creative control.


Does your wedding photographer have Public Liability Insurance?

Duh!
All wedding venues in Ireland, including parks and gardens maintained by the OPW, will expect your wedding photographer to have comprehensive Public Liability Insurance. They’d be foolish not to. If your wedding venue needs a copy of our PLI details just get them to drop us a line and we’ll liaise with them.


What equipment will your wedding photographers be bringing?

We shoot with Canon cameras and a mix of Canon L and Sigma Art lenses. Each of us use Canon 5D mkiii and mkiv bodies, and we each carry a spare body.

Mike prefers fixed lenses rather than zooms, although his favourite is the Canon 16-35mm 2.8L - he also carries a Canon 50mm f1.4, a Sigma Art 35mm f1.4, and a Sigma 85mm Art f1.4. He also carries a Profoto A1 flash for when it’s absolutely necessary - he prefers to work with natural light where possible.

Jill prefers zooms’ versatility and uses Canon’s 24-70 f2.8L and 70-200mm f2.8L, and a trusty Canon 600EX flash unit.

In case it rains or is otherwise impossible to shoot outdoors - something far rarer than most people imagine - we usually bring 2 studio lights with us so we can set up indoors because they offer far better lighting options than on camera flash units.

Every camera shoots both RAW and JPG files to two storage cards.

When we get home, Mike immediately backs everything up onto two separate drives and the Mac. Files are only deleted from the computer once the couple has their copy of the wedding files. We keep the back up copies for 12 months.