10 Questions with Loreal Byers

WeddingRule Interviewed one of the most passionate and super talented wedding photographers in Indiana, Loreal Byers of LorealMade. Indianapolis based Loreal is the founder and owner of LorealMade.

LorealMade

Photographer - Loreal Byers

10 Questions with Loreal Byers
  • Business: LorealMade
  • Location: Indianapolis, Indiana IN
  • Experience: 6+ Years
  • Photography Types: Editorial / Commercial, Engagements, Family, Weddings
  • Profile: LorealMade
  • Website: lorealmade.com

1. Introduction: What's your story?

I’m Loreal – the photographer behind LorealMade, based in Indianapolis. I love people + the connections we all create daily! As a photographer I’ve made it my goal to showcase these relationships and the pieces of them that make them just so very special.

My story in association to photography is one that feels long and perhaps even a little blurry. I have forever loved documenting moments in life. The newest point and shoot cameras were always at the top of my wishlist when it came to birthdays and holidays. So like a lot of people, I was constantly snapping away at what might have seemed like the mundane aspects of the day to day. Eventually I had found myself enrolled in college and on a career path I wasn’t particularly enjoying. I decided to drop from those courses, but because I was nervous to remove myself entirely from education I opted into taking some photography courses at a local community college. I knew I would enjoy the classes and I thought it would be a smart move to stay in the swing of school while I decided what my “real career” would be… Well surprise! I am now a full time photographer and it’s such an honor being invited into some of life’s most intimate moments to capture them in an honest + genuine way for the clients I have the privilege of serving.

2. How long have you been shooting weddings? How many weddings have you photographed?

I photographed my first wedding back in 2015, at that time I had been taking professional portraits for a few years prior. I had been asked to do weddings before but the idea of being entrusted with something that was so fleeting made me very nervous. Luckily I had the best couple for that first wedding, I actually think they trusted me/my capabilities more than I trusted myself. I’ve continued to be blessed with couples that believe in my process, passion, and service. Since that 2015 wedding I have had the honor of documenting over a hundred more weddings for some of the most amazing couples.

3. How would you describe your photography style?

I would say the most prominent aspect of my photography work is emotion. I am constantly scanning the atmospheres that I’m submerged within - looking for the little interactions that mean so much. By concentrating on the connection and exchanges between people I feel that my work automatically lends itself to becoming a bit more documentary style. I strive to stay honest with the representation I deliver back to my clients. It’s my goal that they feel they get to relive their wedding day in a genuine way, true to how it felt in the moment.

This can be a tough approach, but it is so rewarding being able to walk away from my client’s stories knowing that I preserved them in a truthful way. I push myself and my work to document candid pieces in a creative and thoughtful way.

4. How well in advance should couples book their wedding photographer?

I’ve had couples book me two years in advance and two weeks in advance. I’d say if you find a photographer you really admire and feel you’ll be a good fit with one another, they should be one of the first vendors you lock down. Dates can get scooped up quickly, and unfortunately it’s impossible for one person to be in two separate places at once.

5. What are the different packages that you offer and which one is your most popular package?

You can find some basic package options on my website for coverage on your wedding day. These just serve as a base foundation / general idea as to what I offer as a wedding photographer. With that said, I’m a firm believer in trying to work with anyone who feels that I’m the best fit for them and their special day. I spend a lot of time creating custom packages with couple’s that reach out needing something that might not specifically be outlined on my website. I am always happy to do this because this is your wedding day and it should serve you best.

I find that my Classic Package is the sweet spot for most couples. It entails six hours of photography coverage for the day of the event for a middle tier budget. This package is also one where I offer a complimentary engagement session; which allows the couple and I to meet and get comfortable with one another before the wedding day.

More recently I’ve had a lot of couples taking advantage of my Polaroid add on option. It’s such a fun + nostalgic way to add a little something extra special to the way your wedding day is documented. I use a variety of vintage Polaroid 600 cameras I’ve collected over the years. They automatically present such a feeling of nostalgia and timelessness to a wedding day photo collection.

6. Are you the wedding photographer who will be shooting on the wedding day? Who else is there in your team?

Currently with my photography brand, I am the photographer that shows up from start to finish. I am present for everything from the email response to a couple’s initial inquiry, meeting with them to hammer out details, showing up the day of to photograph, and the one behind the post process. I’m sure at this point in my career I could delegate some of these tasks, but I truly just so enjoy being able to foster that connection with my couples and getting to know them. It all goes back to how much I adore human connection – it’s so so important to me. I honestly don’t think I’ll ever stop being the face that my couples see every step of the way. I just cherish being able to be present with my couples, excited for them + their accomplishments, and documenting their stories as they blossom.

7. Do you charge a travel fee? For what distance? What does that cover?

As mentioned before, I am based out of Indianapolis Indiana so I usually find myself servicing the Central Indiana area. However I am always so down with traveling to come celebrate a couple! I have had the honor of documenting weddings all over the United States. I hope to continue to expand my service areas – and actually currently my dream is to start capturing some Las Vegas Elopements!

When I travel for my job, if it is outside of a 100 mile radius I do charge a state recommended mileage fee. Other travel expenses that would be relayed to my client would be lodging if the structure of the day requires I stay overnight. These are all aspects I work closely with my couples to ensure they approve of the accommodations/plans to ensure I’m able to be wherever they might need me.

8. Are albums or prints included in your packages?

Currently to keep my packages flexible, my contracted packages follow photography coverage with the delivery of high resolution files and the gallery service I utilize has the option for couples to purchase prints and albums once they’ve received their gallery link. I find this works best for my couples because it allows a little extra time for them to budget out funds to use towards prints instead of having to pay upfront with a contract that includes them. My couples’ have loved this flexibility within their packages so I plan to continue offering my services in this way.

9. How long after the wedding will the couple receive the images? How will they be delivered?

To answer this in a formal way, my contract says "generally within one month and not to exceed three months". To less formally answer this question, I try my hardest to deliver the full gallery within two weeks. Trust me, I’m just as excited about getting the final images done and ready to view as my couples! I always share some sneak peeks within 48 hrs, but there’s just something about being able to deliver those full galleries quickly (usually around a thousand images).

10. What is your cancellation and/or refund policy?

This is such an important question, and as I’m sure many of us found out from 2020, cancellations and rescheduling just has to happen sometimes. For any of my wedding packages I require a $500 non-refundable deposit and a signed contract. I have this set deposit fee instead of a percentage of whichever package is chosen as a first step to simplifying the process if for some reason changes are needed. Collecting a $500 fee for any package makes is much easier to change the type of contract my clients need if they’re thrown a curve ball from life and need to switch things up.

Even though the $500 is non-refundable, I still have had couples who have had to cancel their wedding arrangements. Every single time I have been able to work with these clients to offer them $500 in other services. I know wedding planning can be tough and financially stressful, so I do my best to be an advocate for you and your money. Another common occurrence I was faced with over the past year was cancellation/reschedules. I am happy to apply the collected deposit to a new date as long as my couple’s work with me to make sure we land on a date where I am available and not already booked.

All the financial legal lango can be tough and is subject to change so if a couple has more in depth questions I am always available to discuss.

Gallery

Awards

WeddingRule Editor’s Choice 2021