How to Choose Your Photography Collection

Hooray!  You’re engaged.  The venue is booked, maybe a bridal gown made you fall in love all over again.  Perhaps, you’ve even found the perfect photographer. 


As you begin looking at packages and pricing, your eyes glaze over.  Ugh.  This is not the fun part of marrying your man. 

How do you know what you want in a wedding photography collection? 

Early in the planning process it’s tricky making large price-point decisions with little knowledge and experience.  There are four areas of investment when booking a wedding photographer.

1. Images

2. Time

3. Services

4. Products




Before anything else, consider how you would like to receive your actual images.  That may seem obvious, but every wedding photographer is different.  Some photographers require you to purchase the digital files (especially high resolution files) in addition to a package or their time.  Make sure you check what is included in the most basic coverage. 

I highly recommend investing in this, as a top priority.   Then, you have your images, digitally, and can use them in creative ways. 

All Debra Eby Photography Co. brides receive digital files.  These files are web resolution images (for online sharing) and high resolution images (for personal printing). 




This is one of the biggest areas of question for inquiring couples.  How many hours of wedding photography do you need on the wedding day?

The answer is completely different for each couple.  For most couples, eight hours is enough for all of the essentials.  But, if you want complete coverage, and have a special send-off, you may need to invest in more. 

Let’s walk through a few wedding day samplings to get an idea of your coverage needs.


Wedding coverage typically begins towards the end of hair and make-up.  It then lasts until the final important event of the evening. This could be a first dance or a sparkler send-off.  


6 Hours

This is for a wedding requiring simple coverage.  These weddings tend to be shorter, or couples who are on a tighter budget.  It’s worth hiring an amazing photographer, even if it’s only for six hours.  Remember, when on a tighter wedding budget you want quality over quantity.


Sample 6 Hour Schedule

  • 1:00 pm - Getting Ready
  • 2:00 pm - In Gown
  • 2:30 pm - First Look, Portraits
  • 4:30 pm - Ceremony
  • 5:30 pm - Family Portraits, Cocktail Hour, Reception Decor
  • 6:30 pm - Reception begins
    • Announcing in bridal party
    • First Dance
  • 7:00 pm - Photographer Departs


8 Hours

This is the ideal amount of time for most wedding coverage.  It is my most popular booking since it covers most of the essentials, telling your wedding story. 

Depending on how late your celebration lasts, 8 hours may not see you to a send-off.  Consider what you want to do at your reception and what you need captured by a professional.  For dancing pictures, the first hour will always be your best images of the night.  As time passes -  speaking as the sober girl at the party - it gets a little sloppy.


Sample 8 Hour Schedule

  • 1:00 pm - Getting Ready
  • 2:00 pm - In Gown
  • 2:30 pm - First Look, Portraits
  • 4:30 pm - Ceremony
  • 5:30 pm - Family Portraits, Cocktail Hour, Reception Decor
  • 6:30 pm - Reception begins
    • Announcing in bridal party
    • First Dance
    • Dinner Service, Toasts
    • Dancing
    • Cake Cutting
  • 9:00 pm - Photographer Departs


10 Hours

Ten hours of wedding photography allows for full coverage, for most couples.  This sees you from those final hair and make-up moments to your send-off. 

Sample 10 Hour Schedule

  • 1:00 pm - Getting Ready
  • 2:00 pm - In Gown
  • 2:30 pm - First Look, Portraits
  • 4:30 pm - Ceremony
  • 5:30 pm - Family Portraits, Cocktail Hour, Reception Decor
  • 6:30 pm - Reception begins
    • Announcing in bridal party
    • First Dance
    • Dinner Service, Toasts
    • Dancing
    • Cake Cutting
    • Bouquet and Garter Toss
    • Bride & Groom Exit     
  • 11:00 pm - Photographer Departs




Each photographer is different with the services they provide their clients.  This part of the experience is based on what a professional does for you vs. a tangible product. 

My services include: engagement portraits, bridal portraits, and a second shooter.


Engagement Portraits

Engagement sessions are the rehearsal of the wedding day portraits.  It is an opportunity for your photographer to get to know your couple personality and how that translates on camera.  The photographer learns your best angles and what makes you light up.  Plus, it's a really fun date experience - life in front of the camera.  

Consider how you would use engagement portraits.  You could have a guestbook make from the images of your engagement session.  Framing portraits for décor, creating save-the-dates, your wedding website, so many options. 



Bridal Portrait

This one is for my southern girls out there.  You know what this is. 

For those of you unfamiliar, a bridal portrait is a photo session with just the bride on a separate day, prior to the wedding usually. 

This is a time for you to have that hair and make-up trial and put on that designer gown.  We get gorgeous you in front of that camera for some serious fun modeling playtime. 

While this may not be for everyone, it’s secretly one of my favorite things in the world to do.  Time alone with a bride, no timeline crunch, we get to play with posing, angles, and Cinderella twirls.  It also saves time on the wedding day. 

One of my brides wrote a sweet message on a chalkboard, “Always Daddy’s Little Girl”, then purchased a print, framed it and gifted it to her father on the wedding day.   Tears everywhere. 

Another bride purchased a massive print, framed and displayed it at the entrance to the reception.  The guests completely gushed over it. 



Second Shooter


A second shooter offers a rich wedding photography experience.   This service adds more images as well as different images when we divide and conquer. 

A second shooter:

  • Captures the guys getting ready
  • Offers alternative angles to things like a first look
  • Captures candids at the cocktail hour
    • If you do not have a first look, this is not something I am able to do without a second shooter.
  • Ensures abundant wedding detail coverage
  • Overall more images of your day

If any of these things are really important to you, then investing in a second shooter is the way to go.  Any large and detail-intensive weddings should invest in a second shooter. 




Many photographers bundle products into their packages.  You choose what you want based on a combination of services and products. 

Products vary from photographer to photographer.  If they offer an album, it can look totally different than another album a different photographer offers.  Make sure you see a picture or hold an album in person to view the quality.  

My products are very high end.  I'm super picky about quality when it comes to wedding products.

My approach to products is a little different.  Everything is a la carte in the marketplace for all Debra Eby Photography Co. couples.  The marketplace is an online marketplace for all wedding photography products.  

The convenient part about a marketplace is that you can invest in heirloom-quality products at any time in this process.  Even after the wedding day. 

You may not know what products are going to be right for you until closer to the wedding day.  That’s okay, because you have time for all that shopping after the planning is further along. 

The guide below helps you understand the product function so that you see if it is the right fit for your wedding experience.



Luxury Fine Art Album

The Luxury Fine Art Album is the most gorgeous wedding album I have ever seen.  The album has thick, lay-flat pages with rich color and elegant sheen.  This is a 12 x 12 album that functions as the art gallery of your wedding day. 

Couples select the images, cover textiles, and lettering or image cut-out through the album design form.  Then, I design the album, create a digital proof, finally, you approve the proof for printing. 

This is my favorite product – by far.  Most of my couples choose to add this to their collection.  This album is built to last for generations to come, truly an investment piece. 



Engagement Guestbook

This is another popular product since it serves such a useful function.  Not only is it a lay-flat album, it can also serve a guestbook on the wedding day.  You can also have it designed as a coffee table book, with no space for writing.



Parent Album

 The Parent Album is a duplicate of the Luxury Fine Art Album.  It is 6 x 6, so convenient for parental bragging on the go.  This product is only available upon purchase of a Luxury Fine Art Album.  It is an add-on product.



Luxury Fine Art Prints

These are images from your wedding day printed through my high-quality lab.  The colors and texture of these pieces of art make them into beautiful wall art.  These can be ordered any time after receiving your online gallery.  Friends and family are also welcome to purchase these through the marketplace. 

Couples often order prints through me for the actual wedding day décor.  Engagement and bridal portrait prints are very popular. 

If you're still unsure, talk with any girlfriends who recently were married.  They can tell you things they wish they would have done and will have other tips for you as well.  

The best thing you can do is meeting up with your photographer.  Explain your vision and they can help you customize your dream collection.


xoxo Lovelies




Discovering My Photography Style

It was that time of year.  Snow was falling, festive lights lacing houses, a regular winter wonderland in Ontario.  It was December of 2010 and time for Ben's annual company Christmas dinner.  

This year we celebrated at a Edelweiss Tavern.  A dimly lit Alps themed banquet hall with buffet style service.  Ben had been telling me about this photographer who he worked with.  At the time they were a husband and wife team, shooting weddings and family portraits.  The lead photographer was John and his second shooter, Kerry.  I wanted to meet them, so badly.  At this point, I was an island, doing this all on my own.  

I was a bag of nerves.  As a brand new photographer, I didn't think anyone would take me seriously.  My work needed improvement, but my desire and hustle were absolutely there.  


Branding and headshot circa 2011


We sit down at our banquet table with them.  Ben, bridges the conversation.  He tells them that I'm a photographer, while I blush, "Well, I'm a new photographer".  They don't miss a beat.  They start opening up immediately, graciously welcoming me into the elusive "photographer club."  We chat about business, the art of it all, I am treated as a colleague.  

A few months later I was second shooting my first wedding for John.  I still remember the advice he gave me, how to prepare.  Things like, "Bring Gatorade to hydrate, always clean your car in case someone needs a ride, be ready to jump in and help with anything for the bridal party."  That day I pinned boutonnieres on the groomsmen, held reflectors, and nervously shot from other angles, as he directed.  It was the kindest introduction to wedding photography that I could have experienced.  



The Experimenting

I knew that weddings were my passion.  With weddings, there is no style experimenting allowed.  I had to find my niche.  When booking a wedding, you must be true to the images that couples see presented.  Consistency.  This was my dilemma.  I hadn't decided what my aesthetic would be.  I liked so many styles!

Pinterest was still new in the spring of 2011.  It was very helpful as I learned what pulls at my heart.  

Somehow, I needed to stand out.  At first, I thought this was through actions and filters.  Hello, texture overlays.  That yellow tinting, gahhh, now I cringe.  

I went through some suuuuper bad editing days, you guys.  Not with my weddings, but a few portraits and my own, personal projects.  


The Discovery

Then, I came across a book.  This book would transform my mindset and reveal my true style.  Jose Villa's Fine Art Wedding Photography revolutionized my business.  His fine art approach spoke to me in every way.  

In the book he describes approaching a wedding as a collection.  From start to finish you are thinking about the album and creating a cohesive gallery of images.  Just as a museum curates an institution's collections. 

Look at the wedding and details that speak to the personality of the couple, that is a part of their story.  Take that in, then create custom wedding art out of the entire day.

His humble and high end art perspective revolutionized my approach.  He shares about capturing authentic skin tones and creating timeless wedding work.  He pushed me to make my images amazing, not the post processing.  When your work is solid, you only need a little polish.  


The Medium

I am often asked, by those in the photography world, if I shoot film.  That may seem like a strange question to those outside of the photography world.  

It sounds total old school, and it kind of is, but with a modern twist.  Using older medium format cameras do create a certain quality that digital has not mastered.  

So, the next question, would I use film?  Jose Villa is the master of film photography.  Any photographer who inspired me also shot medium format film.   

I wasn't alone in my search.  In the summer of 2011, it was the early beginning of the niche explosion of fine art film photography.  

I was given a 35 mm Nikon which I used to experiment.  It was scary, no back-of-camera affirmation.  I had to go with my technical knowledge and gut.  I loved it!  But, the further I explored, the more doubts I had about it.  

The outcome of a Contax 645 can be right out of a dream.  But, there are risks as well involving old equipment, film sourcing, and the ongoing processing expenses.  

For the way I wanted to run my business, it wasn't a true match.  

I'm still a passionate lover of film photography, and likely always will be.  I will also continue experimenting and maybe even incorporate it into some of my work on a wedding day.  But, I'm primarily a digital photographer who takes a fine art approach to my work.


The Results

So it began, learning to curate a wedding, from start to finish.  Telling a story through styling pretty details and portrait backdrops that fit the aesthetic of that wedding.  Searching for the very best light, harnessing it for a special glow.  All while still capturing candid moments and emotion unfolding all around. 

Throughout a wedding day I am continually thinking about the cohesiveness of the collection.  First, finding good light.  Second, styling my details and portraits with backgrounds that are in line with the overall aesthetic.  Also, keeping an eye out candid moments.  

This approach gives me life and feeds my creative soul.  When others connect with that feeling, it makes me so happy.  Because, at the end of the day, my job is making wedding art that brings joy to couples. 


These images are from my very first official wedding as the main shooter.  

Mark & Ainslie are always going to be a super special couple to me.  They designed a gorgeous wedding (It was featured on Style Me Pretty) and took a chance on a newer photographer.  They are now a family of four with two little ones just as gorgeous as they are.

Looking back, I now see all of those little pieces that came into my life, setting my trajectory.  I am so grateful.  

I am thankful for that first wedding where I second shot.  Thankful that John and Kerry gave me a chance, welcoming me.  Grateful for experts like Jose Villa who share generously so that we can all grow in our craft.  

Most of all, grateful to each couple who gives me the gift of entering and capturing their lives.  

xoxo Lovelies