Wedding Photography FAQ

How many weddings have you done? 

I have photographed over 750 weddings at last count. I began photographing weddings in 2002 and photograph around 40 weddings each year. It is my full-time occupation so I am able to give you my full attention. I love photographing weddings!

Will Jeff Schaefer photograph the wedding himself?

Yes, I will be your lead photographer and will be with you the entire time. I won't surprise you by sending a less-capable substitute photographer. (An common complaint with larger studios.)

Will there be a second photographer?

A second photographer is included in the 8-hour and up packages.

The second photographer provides more photo-journalistic coverage and captures different views of key moments. For instance during the toast I'll be focused on your table, and my assistant might photograph your parents raising their glasses. Or, during your ceremony processional, while I'm photographing your bridesmaids walking down the aisle, the 2nd photographer candidly captures you and your dad and your nervous anticipation.

However, the second photographer is not absolutely essential, especially with smaller or simpler weddings and elopements. Having photographed so many weddings, I am completely capable of photographing a wedding alone, without missing a thing.

How much time will we spend taking posed photographs?

We will work together to construct a solid timeline for the day so that we get all the 'formal' and 'creative' photographs in the shortest amount of time possible, without being rushed, and so everyone has a fun time.

Every wedding is different, and the length of the 'portrait photo session' depends on your preferences, number of people involved, number of locations, travel times, and the number of creative photographs you want. So, the amount of time we spend doing creative photography 'sessions' varies. I can give you a good estimate once I get more information. 

How much time do we need and what does a typical wedding-day timeline look like?

Smaller weddings, at one location are typically 6 to 8 hours.
Larger weddings, at multiple locations are typically 9 to 11 hours.

1-2 hr.               Getting-ready photos
40 min.            Bride and bridesmaids creative portraits
20 min.            Groom and groomsman creative portraits
10 min.             First look
20-40 min.    Bride and groom's creative portraits
15-30 min.      Wedding party creative portraits (depends on number of people) 
                             (Add more time to larger locations (like parks) to walk around to different spots.)
                             (Add travel time between locations.)
30-45 min.     Guests arrive at ceremony site. Ladies hidden, groomsmen/ushers seat guests.
20-60 min.     Wedding ceremony
15-30 min.      Family photos (time greatly depends on family sizes) 
1 hr.                    Cocktail hour
2 hr.                   Reception events (intro., dinner, speeches, cake, dances, garter/bouquet)
1-2 hr.               Fun, candid reception photographs and open dancing

How long should we plan on having you photograph the reception?

I would figure 3 to 4 hours, not counting cocktail hour, for a typical reception with 100+ guests.  Dinner, toasts, cake cutting, formal dances and garter/bouquet can take nearly 2 hours (or longer if dinner isn't ready on time.) I recommend another hour or two of people on the dance floor, fun candids and guests enjoying each other.

While it sounds like 3 hours should be plenty of time for photos, your reception will fly by in a blur.  You'll want to capture those fun late-night moments such as you dancing with your new parent-in-law, or grandparents dancing together or with a grandchild. Moments that only happen once, but you'll want to remember forever.

How much time do we need for getting ready photographs? 

I recommend 1 hour for photos of the bride's makeup finishing touches, buttoning up the dress, putting on jewelry, veil, garter, and shoes.

I recommend 2 hours if you would also like photographs of the dress, shoes, jewelry, invitations, rings, and other details... a matching robes or shirts photo... opening the groom's gift and/or card... plus more candid photos of you and your bridesmaids.

As long as the guys already have their shirts and slacks on, 10 to 20 minutes is adequate with them. 

I and the 2nd photographer can split up, where I photograph the ladies prep, and the 2nd photographer photographs the guys prep at a different location. However, it works really well for the bride and groom to both get ready at the same venue. Then we can pop back and forth depending on how everyone is doing.

I strongly encourage you to get ready EARLY.  Add 20% more time to the hair and makeup artist's estimate, then allow another 45 minutes for everyone to get dressed.

Will we need to see each other before the wedding?

No. It's your wedding and you can do what you'd like. 

I recommend doing a 'first look' and photographing you and your fiancé together before the ceremony if...

  • you want photographs taken at another location like a park or downtown.
  • you want outdoor photos, but it gets dark early in the Spring and Fall.
  • you want a wider variety of natural and candid feeling photographs, instead of rushing through the basics.
  • you want a more enjoyable, no-rush, no-stress day.
  • you want to do a receiving line after the ceremony.
  • you want photographs of your reception decorations before the guests arrive.
  • you want to join your guests at cocktail hour.
  • you don't want to delay dinner or miss any of your reception.

    The biggest reason to see each other and get your photos out of the way before the ceremony is that after your ceremony, you, your fiancé, and your wedding party are going to be in the mood to celebrate - not to smile for the camera for an hour while everyone else is off having fun. After you tie the knot, get a few remaining photos with the grandparents then enter the party on a high note.

Do you provide same-sex, gay, lesbian wedding photography? 

Yes. Jeff Schaefer Photography supports marriage equality and is happy to be your same-sex, gay, lesbian, LGBTQ Cincinnati wedding and engagement photographer. 

I support gay marriage and acceptance of people in all their varieties. Love is something to be celebrated; it enriches and enhances our lives. I believe that we are all equal, and that everyone should be treated the same.

What is your style or philosophy for photographing our wedding?

I photograph in a relaxed manner that sets the stage naturally. I offer a little guidance, encourage you to focus on each other, and I artistically capture your passion and emotion for each other. There are some look-at-the-camera-and-smile photographs, but it’s not overdone. My method is a fun and comfortable way to be photographed, and your photographs will be spontaneous, emotional, and timeless. 

You'll also receive photographs of MANY candid moments of you two, your friends and family. You will be amazed by the behind-the-scenes photographs that you didn’t realize I was capturing. Your photographs will show the emotional connections between loved ones... the laughter, smiles, little glances, hugs, tears, and joy. It is these details that tell the story of your wedding day and all the meaningful relationships in your life.

Can I send example photos or a Pinterest board?

Yes. I am happy to work with you to make your vision a reality.  Please don't feel like you have to send one.

What is the "Rain Back-up Assurance"?

Besides having many little-known indoor and outdoor-sheltered photo locations we can go to in case of rain, every client also receives my Rain Back-up Assurance promise... 

If we can't do your planned outdoor wedding portraits because it is raining, and we can't get them later, you receive a COMPLEMENTARY portrait session at a later date. We'll create those beautiful, artistic, outdoor images of you and your spouse another day!

Are the photographs retouched?

Yes. Every image receives global adjustments such as color balancing, brightness, contrast, saturation, vignette, and sharpening. The images you receive will be ready to print.

I do not apply tasteless Instagram or phone app filters. And, I don't over-retouch and make your skin look plastic. Your photographs will have realistic, natural, vibrant color, and the right amount of contrast to see details in both the white wedding dress and the black tux, and your photographs will be sharp and crisp.

Do we get the digital images and can we make our own prints?

Yes, and yes.  You will receive your edited digital photographs, delivered on a USB drive. They are retouched, high-resolution JPG, not watermarked, and you receive a copyright release document. You are free to make your own prints and copies, share them with family and friends, and basically do whatever you want with them.

How many photographs will I receive?

There is no limit to the number of wedding photographs you will receive. The average is 80 to 100 images per hour that I'm with you.

How long will I wait for the photographs?

No more than 2 WEEKS!

In 2 weeks you'll receive your USB drive of retouched photographs and an online gallery.  We will have your custom album designed in just another few weeks after that.

I know how excited you are, so I am dedicated to delivering you photographs and album as soon as possible... MUCH faster than the industry average. (Which is a shameful 4 to 6 weeks!)  

Plus, if you have me for at least 4-hours at the reception, I give you a day-of wedding photos sneak peak AT YOUR RECEPTION on a large computer monitor!  How cool is that!

What is the "wedding album credit" in some wedding packages?

Several wedding packages include a wedding album credit.  This is a dollar amount credit, which you apply to the purchase of your album, after your wedding.

The album credit is included in packages at a significant discount.

The credit allows you to apply the credit amount to whichever album you would like, without being locked in to one type. There are many album types, sizes, materials, page-quantities, and other personalization options to choose from. 

If the credit covers the album cost completely, you owe nothing. Otherwise, you pay the difference.

For example, the $700 credit would completely cover the following albums...
     Coffee-Table Album, 10”x 10” size,  40-pages,  Eco Leather cover,  with Inscription 
     Coffee-Table Album,  12”x 12” size,  30-pages,  Eco Leather cover,  with Inscription
     Formal Album,  10” x 10” size,  28-pages,  Eco Leather cover,  with Inscription

You pick the album options after your wedding.  You don't need to decide anything prior to the wedding except to add the credit at a discount. 

The wedding album credit may be applied to parent albums, but may not be exchanged or refunded for cash or other products.

The credit must be used within one year of the wedding or $100 per year will be deducted from the credit amount.

How does the album design process work?

Most clients have my design team and I select the initial photos. You have the option to select the initial photos yourself, but it is quicker and easier to let us do it for you.

Regardless of who selects the initial photos, my design team creatively lays out the initial album design. We put it online for you to 'proof'.  You will love 90% of the initial design the way it is, and you are free to make any changes to the layout. You easily enter instructions to add, remove, adjust, or swap photos online.

My design team will incorporate your changes into the layout and put the new layout online for you to 'proof' again.  We repeat this process up to 3 times until you are thrilled and approve the layout. Most couples only need 1 or 2 sets of changes.

After you approve your layout, you choose which album type, size, cover, and other personalization options you would like. I order the album, and you have it in your hands in 4 to 6 weeks. The process is quick and simple and you are going to LOVE your treasured heirloom wedding album.

Is an engagement or bridal portrait session included in the wedding package?

An engagement session is included in packages 8-hours and up.  You receive the session and the retouched, high-resolution digital image files that you are free to print. 

Engagement sessions are completely optional and are not required. It may be swapped for an additional hour on the wedding day, an additional album credit, or a package discount. 


Benefits of an engagement portrait session:

1. The session is a great opportunity for us to get comfortable with each other. Then, on your wedding-day, we will feel more like friends instead of strangers.
2. You'll be more relaxed about being in front of the camera on your wedding day. That results in better wedding photographs!
3. You'll LOVE showing off your engagement photographs.
4. You can create save the date cards and holiday cards.
5. We can create a custom engagement signature book.
6. The photographs make lovely wedding decorations. 

What equipment do you use, and do you bring backup equipment?

I use multiple Canon professional cameras and lenses, and bring a back-up for every piece of equipment. Plus, my cameras write to 2 memory cards simultaneously, so you photos are backed up the moment I capture the image.

In addition to the cameras, I use a multiple lighting system that few photographs do. My lighting system provides 100% assurance that you'll get bright and beautiful photographs no matter how dark the light is. With the flick of a few switches I can quickly go from bold, dramatic images to a soft, warm, and intimate.

How will you dress at our wedding?

I dress professionally. I wear black dress shoes, black dress slacks, and a solid black or grey collared polo shirt. The shirt may be long or short-sleeved, depending on the temperature.

Do we provide a meal for you and the 2nd photographer? 

You are not required to provide meals for us. But, almost every client does graciously provide us with a meal, which enables us to eat quickly and get back to photographing the action without worrying about getting food.  If you choose to provide a meal, you do not need to provide us an expensive plated meal. A vendor meal (cold-cut sandwich) is fine and greatly appreciated.

Will having a videographer affect my pictures?

Most videographers are professional and unobtrusive.  A few like to stand very close to the couple throughout the ceremony, toasts, first dance, etc., which means they end up in a lot of your photos. Therefore, I have a list of videographers that I recommend on my Recommended Vendors page.

What if you’re sick and can’t make it on my wedding day? 

I've heard many stories about photographers canceling right before a wedding. In nearly all of these cases the photographer canceled for a non-emergency reason. Usually, it’s because a better deal came along on that date. Or, a larger studio had a few staff photographers quit last minute.  

There is no way I would do something so unscrupulous! Once you have me booked... I’m there, and I won’t double book, or cancel... Period. I know how important your wedding photographs are to you. Plus, I stake my livelihood on my reputation and I would never do anything to tarnish it.

However, there are no absolute guarantees in life. Anything can happen to me or any of your vendors. But, you should know that since I started photographing weddings in 2002, I have had the good fortune of good health and have never missed an event... nor even been late. It would take a catastrophic event or serious hospitalization to cause me to miss a wedding. No matter what my circumstances are, I would make every attempt to photograph the wedding.

In the unlikely event that something absolutely beyond my control prevents me from attending your wedding, I will do everything possible to find the very best substitute photographer available. I will make every attempt to exceed your expectations given that unlikely scenario. I am closely connected with many excellent photographers that would fill in as principal photographer in an emergency. My assistant photographers would be there with them also. If I can not find a suitable replacement, you would receive a full refund. 

Where are you located? 

My residential office is at 6361 Kings Arms Way Fairfield, OH 45014

     25 minutes from downtown Cincinnati.
     40 minutes from Florence.
     45 minutes from Dayton.

How far will you travel? 

There is no travel charge and no minimum package requirement for travel within a one-and-a-half-hour drive of Cincinnati.

In Ohio, that includes Cincinnati, Dayton, Tipp City, Troy, Piqua, Sidney, Washington Courthouse, Lebanon, Wilmington, Hillsboro, Sardinia, Georgetown, and Ripley.

In Indiana, that includes Madison, Oldenburg, Greensburg, and Shelbyville. 

In Kentucky, that includes Northern Kentucky, South to Williamstown, and Milton.


Areas that are about a 2 hour drive from Cincinnati (I.E. Columbus, Indianapolis, Louisville, and Lexington weddings) require a minimum booking and a reasonable fee to cover possible lodging and the additional time for myself and the second photographer.

Destination weddings - Areas further than a 2 hour drive require a minimum booking, and a reasonable per diem fee to cover travel and lodging. 

Do you have liability insurance? 

Yes, I have liability insurance. Many venues require this of any vendors that work on their property.  As well as liability insurance, I carry equipment insurance, errors & omissions insurance, and indemnity insurance so that you and I are both protected.

How do I reserve my date and what are the payments?

Here are the steps: 

1) Let me know that you wish to retain me via phone or email. 

2) Make the $795 non-refundable retainer payment for me to hold the date. The retainer comes out of the package total. You can make payments online with a credit card, or use a check or cash. I take all major credit cards and there is no credit card fee.

3) Once you make the retainer payment, you have 30 days to let me know which package you'd like. I'll put the package in a contract that you can digitally sign online. Once signed, you have me formally booked.

4) The remaining balance is due 30 days prior to your wedding. You may make installment payments.

All payments may be made by cash, check, or credit card, and there is no credit card fee.

Can we upgrade the package after booking?

Yes.  You can upgrade the package any time prior to your wedding date at no extra penalty. Common upgrades include doing the engagement session at a location-of-your-choice, adding the wedding album credit, or adding additional time.

Can we have you stay longer at the reception?

You can add additional time to your package before your wedding at the regular rate.

Adding additional time on the day of the wedding is double the regular hourly rate.  If the regular hourly rate is $150, adding an hour day-of is $300.

My availability, beyond the contractual agreed upon end time is not guaranteed. I will try to accommodate you, but if I have plans after your event, or need to get up early the next morning, I may not be able to stay longer.

Consider that dinner and other reception events may be delayed or take longer than expected for reasons beyond your or my control so it is wise to schedule plenty of time for photography coverage in advance.

Can we change the photography start and end times in the contract?

Yes. The contract lists the ceremony start time, the reception start time, and the 'estimated' photography start and end times. You are not locked in to these times. They just give me a rough estimate early on to make plans with my photography team. I will help you create a wedding-day timeline a few months prior to your wedding, in which the start/end times and locations that may differ from the contract.

This all sounds great, what is the next step?

Let's set up a time to talk... just shoot me an email via the contact page. I am available for phone, video, or in-person meetings... day or evening... any day of the week (except weekends are usually booked during the wedding season.)

We will go over your plans and the photography details. You'll have all your questions answered. You'll see the beautiful wedding albums. And, you'll get a feel for how easy and wonderful  working with me is going to be.

From there, a $795 retainer, and signing the contract books your date.

Dates are first-come-first-serve and usually book over a year in advance, so don't delay!

Contact me today with any questions, to request more information, or to set up a time to chat!  Contact me here