After developing extensive experience in orthodox christenings, I wanted to make it clear that when paying someone for your christening - it is no small event. This is one opportunity to capture, therefore when investing - it is best to:
Find a professional who understands the stages of a christening, the importance - and the angles they need to be taken from in order to tell the story. This requires experience, not from just a few christenings but plenty. At GPP, I am nearing 100 Christening Ceremonies and also have experience at photographing them at differing times of the day.
Find a professional who is a registered business and who offers contracts. If anything goes wrong, or something happens resulting in the photographer cancelling or you cancelling - you need to know what your rights are as a customer. At GPP, I have always had contracts which have been approved and checked over by a commercial lawyer to ensure fairness between the both of us.
Find a professional who offers payment plans to make it easier for you. At GPP, I offer multiple payment options - PayRight for the larger collection, Afterpay for the smaller collection and in-store direct lay-by (no companies) direct through me, which is the most used option.
Find a professional who understands the complex lighting situations inside the church, how to combat them, and how to use their camera to a professional degree. One who is new to the interior of the church may struggle with the complex lighting, as there are multiple different types of lighting competing with each other, this can create a dark image or over-exposed when not used correctly - not to mention the strict rules with using flashes and artificial light. At GPP, I have invested in the highest quality camera technology to ensure that I can work seamlessly inside the church and have also invested in specific equipment for the darker days. I have also professional accreditation with the AIPP ensuring that my work is above professional quality at all times. I have undergone training, and always do to ensure my knowledge - at the end of the day, experience is paramount.
You will need a professional who will not just photograph, but capture. Hiring someone who may not understand the incredible meaning behind stages such as the oil blessing is crucial. Without knowing this, and having experience, they will not know how fast the moment passes and how important it is to be apart of the final product. It is important to ask to see, or search for more than one christening - and see if you can find more than a few images. That way you know how the photographer works in different situations.
What goes into a christening?
I spend around one hour preparing your invoice and contract, and then once it comes to your booking - I pack up, charge and prepare my equipment for the christening. I always arrive early to ensure that I am ready to go inside and set up, and through the waiting before the booking, even if it is several months - I am always contactable to help you - even if it is about what to do with the cross or where to find a keepsake christening box.
During the Christening
A lot goes on during this time in my mind, analysing what will happen next and guiding the family on when they need to enter and when they need to wait. This helps them understand what is happening if they are not familiar, but also - it helps me prepare for what is coming up so I can stand in the right spot. Occasionally people are in the way of that spot, so I swiftly change to the next best viewing platform. There are only two true spots where one can photograph from, sometimes these can change slightly depending on the angle of the Priest’s arms and back, as well as the godparent. It is crucial for the photographer to understand this, and ensure nobody else is nearby which can cause a hazard while trying to photograph to get the right angles. All Orthodox christenings do run back, while the ceremony itself is 45 minutes - they tend to start 15 minutes late, and signing takes 15 to 30 minutes. In this period, I don’t charge for my time and wait until the signing is complete and then commence the 15 minute portrait time outside.
After the Christening
After the Christening, I head home, unpack my equipment and immediately back up to three locations. Online, Hard Drive and Computer. This ensures your files are safe, with back ups. I pay every year hundreds of dollars to keep data safe across multiple devices and platforms.
Editing time can be extensive with christenings, taking between two and four hours depending on the lighting and conditions at the time of the christening. Every photo is analysed using our large screens and program technology, zoomed in, and then the best images are selected to reflect the timeline of the christening. It is important to realise while many may offer ‘unlimited’ packages, nothing is actually being missed in your GPP Christening Collection Package, as instead of supplying multiple duplicates, I supply only the best in quality ready to be printed into an album, gallery or to present to family. I have taken the hard work of picking. This is a very timing process which requires much skill, as my editing style within the church is very specific to compliment the colours inside the church.
Your USB and Online Gallery
All GPP Christening Clients receive a USB and Online Gallery which is valid for 3 months of access. My USBs are boxed nicely in a protective keepsake linen box, and your gallery is also archived for a maximum period of two years, for which I pay monthly for - included in your package as a complimentary service at GPP. If you loose your digitals somehow, I may be able to re-activate them for you for a fee of $35.00 for a period of 4 weeks to give enough time to re-download and re-back up your images.
I spent almost four years finding the perfect and highest quality products to last a lifetime for your child's special christening day - therefore, albums and prints are also available (and apart of the higher collection too). The albums are designed to fit all 80 images into the album (which is the amount included in your collection). They are made in Italy and when appropriate care is followed, they are lifelong treasures.
Lastly, you become a GPP Valued Client
This is my favourite part. When you, as a parent, book your first christening - any children (that are the child's siblings) will also be able to access (once they are born of course) great Christening Collection deals. You as a family will also have access to great GPP Client Deals. The baby who is christened will have Studio Session Deals for additional digitals and cheaper products when returning for milestone sessions.
I hope this helps when choosing your next Christening Photographer, remember - don't shop on price, but experience and style.