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Are wedding photos retouched? Do you charge extra?

ALL TOPICS | Photo Questions

Q: Are wedding photos retouched? Do you charge extra?


This is something you need to be asking a photographer before you hire them. My name is Megan Hansen and I am a social worker turned photographer and the owner of Onyx and Opal Creative Co. Listen, I don’t know that you can say that retouching is easy, right? Yes, it’s much easier than back when it was only film and things were not digital. We can do everything on our computers. However, simply editing a wedding gallery takes days. Okay? A good rule of thumb is for every hour of coverage is 2 hours at minimum of editing time. And that doesn’t include retouching. So it takes a lot of time. Second, we don’t have control of every little thing at a wedding day. Trust me, we are going to try our hardest. We are going to find the lighting that we prefer the most. We are going to do the posing, the direction, all of that and the best to our ability. But there are some circumstances that we have no control over. For example, if you have an outdoor ceremony and you already have your location selected, right? I’m not about to stop in the middle of the ceremony and say, hold up, wait, stop. We have to move a little bit to the left because this sun is just not doing it for me. Not going to happen. Right? So that’s going to look way different than your bridal portraits that I have control over every little thing for. Second, do some research on your photographer beforehand because we all have different beliefs when it comes to retouching in general. Personally, my brand value is that we don’t change body sizes, we don’t get rid of wrinkles, none of that stuff. My rule of thumb is if it would go away in two weeks on its own, then we’ll take it out. But outside of that, we believe in showing you and your beauty just as you are. So we are not doing retouching to the extent of other photographers. That’s not the only way to do it. If you prefer something different, that’s okay. But like I said, it’s important to talk with your photographer ahead of time to figure out where they stand on all of this.

When is the best time to do the family group photos? What if there is a long list?

Q: When is the best time to do the family group photos? What if there is a long list?


It’s unequivocally the best, and by that I mean easiest for everybody involved. Time to take family photos during your wedding day is an hour to an hour and a half before the ceremony. Make a list. Make sure you know exactly what photos you’re taking. If you have only one or two photos that involve a huge number of people, and those people are only needed for one or two shots, tops. You can take those ones after the ceremony. But all the little ones with your parents and your spouse’s parents and siblings, and all the ones where there’s going to be a lot of little groups. The best time to do it is before the ceremony. You can have those people come early, have them come to the ceremony location, and however long your photos are going to take, ask your photographer. And their photographer can tell you how long it’s going to take based on how big your list is and how reliable those people showing up on time you believe them to be. But aim to be finished with your photos a half hour before your ceremony. And that’s the easiest, easiest time. I recognize that in order to do this, you’re going to have to do a first look where the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony so that they can stand next to each other and all these family pictures. If you’re willing to do that, put your family photos before the ceremony. You will be so glad you did. Because after the ceremony, all you have to do is photos of the two of you. And depending on what the rest of your schedule is, you can be kind of opportunistic about that and get creative. Interesting stuff in the evening when the light’s prettier. The big family photos are just about organizing people. They’re barely about photography at all, except the photographer just needs to make sure the lights even and they’re framed right and everyone’s looking at the camera. So it is way more important that the people in the photos are in a good mental state before the ceremony. They’ve just put their makeup on and they’re looking fresh and they know it and they don’t need a lot of touch ups and they also haven’t had a drink yet. They’re very easy to organize. Stress free. Do it before the ceremony. It’s what I’m going to do for my.

Do we really need an engagement photo session?

Q: Do we really need an engagement photo session?


So I feel pretty torn on this one if you need an engagement session or not. So first off, on the end of needing an engagement session, it can be helpful just in eliminating some stress. On the wedding day, your photographer is going to come into the room. You’re going to have worked with this person before. That’s going to make you feel a little bit more comfortable. Outside of that, your photographer is going to have a better idea of how to work with you to as a couple. This is going to speed up your portraits a lot just because the photographer is not trying to figure out, okay, how does this couple work? What do they respond to? So it can be helpful in that way, and then it’s also helpful in that when you put all your photos on the wall, you’re going to have just pictures of you and your wedding garb. An engagement session gives you some great photos on your wall where you’re dressed more like normal people. Now, on the end of needing an engagement session, you don’t need anything when it comes to weddings. That’s just a lie that you’re being sold by the wedding industry and photographers like myself. It’s a way we can make more money, so that’s great for us. I would never do an engagement session if it’s not something you actually care about or are excited about it’s, you know, you’re wanting some photos for your walls for save the dates, wanting to feel a little more comfortable on your wedding day or it’s included in a photographer’s collection, absolutely, go for it. But man, don’t do anything just because a bridal blog told you you needed it. You don’t need an engagement session. It’s not going to ruin your wedding. You’re still going to get great photos if you hired a competent photographer. So I hope that helps.


Are second photographers really necessary or are they a way for the photographer to increase the price?

Q: Are second photographers really necessary or are they a way for the photographer to increase the price?


My answer to this question might surprise you. My name is Megan Hansen, and I am a social worker turned photographer for the Megan Hansen Collective. How I would answer this question depends on what your wedding timeline looks like. If you have a wedding timeline that is a bit more spread out, you have some wiggle room, you are able to you in more hours of coverage with your photographer then one person, I think, is perfectly capable of covering everything that needs to be done. Right. However, if you have a timeline that’s pretty tightly packed and there’s not much space, you’re probably going to want that second photographer. It allows for two things to be happening at the exact same time and both being covered. Right. So if your bride is getting ready, you, the bride, are getting ready. One photographer is with you capturing those bridal portraits and all of those special moments while that second photographer is with your groom at the same time while he’s getting ready doing groom portraits versus that one person having to go back and forth, which obviously takes up more time. The other reason you would want a second photographer is if you really want those second angles, most specifically for the ceremony, I personally think is important. So, with my company, we would normally have someone placed in the front of the aisle for a ceremony, capturing the bride as she’s coming down, and then someone at the back of the aisle capturing the groom’s reaction as the bride comes down. So if you have a shorter timeline or you like the versatility of having two angles, then, yes, you will want the second photographer. If those things aren’t important to you, then the second photographer won’t be either. All.

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