Answers to many common questions about our style, equipment, first looks, and the general flow of the wedding day photography.
How do you describe your photography style?
I go into every wedding with the intent of telling the full story of the day as photographs that will stand the test of time and can be looked back on for future months, years, and generations. To break that down, I feel like there are two major parts of what couples are interested to know about my “style”:
1. The way in which I go about photographing a wedding and how the photographs flow as an overall set.
2. The actual editing and physical look of a photo if you take it by itself or if you look the average editing style of the complete set.
I’ll touch on these both in the next two questions!
How do you describe the style of how you approach photographing a wedding day?
I see a wedding day as a collection of a handful of different events that all have to be approached differently to best document. My mindset and techniques constantly shift as the day progresses while maintining a clear overall vision.
My photography during the ceremony and reception is almost 100% photojournalistic and I will never make you pause during your first dance or have you re-enact your first kiss in the aisle. If a major event isn’t happening (ceremony, first dances, cake cutting, toasts, etc) I move around the room or space to find interesting, funny, or otherwise valuable moments. If guests grab me for a quick group photo or ten, I will absolutely take them. If you want large group shots with different tables or groupings of guest I will of course capture them as well! During getting ready, I likely will make suggestions to ensure the room looks good and you are in good positions as everyone puts finishing touches. However, once things begin happening I let them continue to flow so real emotions show through in the photographs. The portraits I take of you are what I call “casually posed” and I make careful use of the surrounding environment. The goal is to make you as comfortable so you to show your true connection on your wedding day without feeling awkward or unsure. That means I tell you where to stand and and give an idea of how to interact (“Kiss on her cheek”, “hug her from behind”, etc) and allow you to naturally fall into different poses. If something looks awkward or you are still unsure, I will move you more specifically, but how couples interact almost always naturally makes for amazing photographs when I put myself in the right place with the right lens and snap away.
How do you describe the style of your photo editing?
My photo editing style is warm and natural with a fairly even exposure throughout that aims to mimic how you remember the moments within your own mind. I want couples and guests to look back at the wedding photos and fondly remember what I captured rather than see things that look nothing like the wedding they were part of and challenge their memories. As strange as it sounds, I actually spend a very significant amount of time post processing and editing my photographs in order to keep the natural look while bringing out little details that make them really pop.
The shadows are not overly black and the whites are not overly bright. I don’t add unrealistic contrast or saturation but also don’t remove bright color that is already there. I tailor the overall style to the day, couple, and venue. If your reception begins at noon in a room with large windows overlooking the ocean, the photos will be bright and airy. If your reception is late at night in a dark venue, I will keep that ambiance and you will see the various uplighting in the background against dark walls.
I avoid heavy Photoshop work with my images so that they do not look overly processed. If it was an overcast day, I do not just fake a bright blue sky into the images. Your will look at the scene and subconsciously know that the lighting on the people doesn’t match the lighting in the sky and something will seem very off in your brain. Instead, I carefully choose the angle and background while taking the photos so that they look great out of the camera and without Photoshop.
However, I still do spot corrections as necessary for minor things that might otherwise take away from a beautiful photo. If there is a speck the bride's dress or a wet spot on the groom’s knee, I will 100% remove those distractions as necessary.
How many pictures do you take and deliver?
I take however many images my finger can muster to be sure I get the peak moments throughout the day and don't keep a very exacting count. Each wedding is somewhere in several of thousands and takes up a ton of hard drive space though. That also means I remove many duplicates, test shots, people blinking, and all the other things you don’t want to sort through yourself. My goal is to tell the story of every wedding well and send you every valuable, beautiful, or otherwise important photo without being overly repetitive. Every wedding has a different structure and timing for different events which will affect the final count so giving an exact count is nearly impossible when I don't place any artificial limit on myself. To give a number, I find my average for a full day wedding is between 600 to 900 images.
What is a first look? Should we plan to do one?
A first look is a private moment that we loosely set up before the ceremony that allows the bride and groom to see each other for the first time. We tell the groom where to stand, give a cue to have the bride begin to walk up, and allow it to be a completely natural moment from then on. Since you no longer have to hide from each other, a first look allows us to capture family photos, bridal party photos, and the couples portraits prior to the ceremony at a low stress time before most of the day sets in motion. Time after the ceremony is limited while the time before is much more open and only dependent on how early you get ready. Therefore, planning for one is a great idea if you heavily value your time to enjoy cocktail hour or want a variety of posed photos at locations that are more difficult to make it to after the ceremony. However, some couples heavily value the traditional aspect of seeing each other for the first time during the ceremony and a first look would clearly interfere with that. Don’t fret too much about the decision, we will get great photos with or without a first look and I am happy to talk more in detail with you about it once we have an idea of your wedding day schedule and plans.
Are you comfortable photographing in a dark reception venue, in front of reflective windows, under a tent, or in some other seemingly challenging condition?
We want your wedding to look it's best for your guests and will will never tell you that a situation is too difficult or should be changed to accommodate photography. We are experts of lighting and have photographed weddings in nearly every circumstance and type of venue so please allow everyone to enjoy the beautiful sunset views and keep the house lights down low. To cover any lighting situation, we are experienced in photographing with a mix of natural light, on camera flashes to bounce off of the walls and ceiling, and radio controlled off camera flashes set up on stands in various places. To put it in perspective, we have covered wedding ceremonies and receptions in even in a concert venue with no windows and entirely black walls and ceiling.
Is a second photographer or assistant necessary?
The answer ultimately comes down the structure of your wedding day and the events you want photography coverage of. I highly encourage you to talk with me if it is something you are considering. I will not try to push a second photographer if I don’t believe it to be necessary or fit well in your budget, but I also will tell you if I think one will be helpful or even necessary. I have successfully and comfortably photographed many full weddings by myself and many others with a second photographer.
When I am the sole photographer, there are ways I can cover the getting ready even in two separate locations depending on the distance and timings. I move around quite a bit during the ceremony and can get to the most important angles while capturing themajor moments. There is typically time during the cocktail hour for setting up my equipment for the reception along with capturing the details of the tables, cake, and room in general.
However, there are certainly times where a second or assistant will be very helpful or even necessary though it is difficult to make a comprehensive list that covers every circumstance. In general, another photographer provides another view on the day and a unique perspective for me to choose from when putting together your final set of wedding photos. I ensure the other photographer with me follows my general style, but still allow them to express their creativity to get capture the day as they see it. Being able to rely on another person getting a photo of each moment allows us to work as a team to set up some high reward but slightly higher risk photographs that are truly one of a kind and unique. If the wedding is spread among many locations and/or parking is difficult, a second person helps immensely in managing equipment and people. Some venues require some a more complex lighting setup for getting ready, portraits, or the reception and another set of eyes and hands can make that go more quickly. Lastly, if you want the getting ready aspect of both the girls and guys covered fully, there must be someone photographing in both locations.
When will we receive the photos from the wedding?
I know you are excited to get your photos after the wedding and make it a priority to have a very prompt turn-around time. I make every effort to send the final images to you within 3 to 4 weeks of the wedding date. Depending on the time of year and my schedule, you may get them significantly more quickly, but is never much slower!
Are the photos edited?
All the images delivered are hand edited for consistent color, exposure, white balance, and sharpness with some converted to black and white when artistically appropriate. Giving you unedited photos would be like serving an uncooked meal and telling you to finish the job! If you have a preference for the balance of color and black and white, we can discuss in advance. I don’t do large photoshop work like replacing skies, adding people, removing people, or anything beyond small spot corrections. I aim to take photos in camera that are beautiful as opposed to relying on photoshop to save a poorly taken image.
How long do family photos usually take? Will I miss all of cocktail hour for them?
I work with you to put together a schedule to get through the family photos as quickly as we can to give you as much of your day as possible to enjoy. If we make a photo list in advance and ensure everyone on that list knows to gather at a particular time and place, we can finish in 10 to 15 minutes. If that list is long enough that I believe it will go longer, I’ll give you a heads up and we can adjust as necessary.
How many weddings have you photographed before?
Between assisting, third shooting, second shooting, working as a primary photographer for other companies, and of course photographing for my own business I quickly lost the exact count. However, I can confidently say that I have taken photos at over 100 weddings and been to many many more.
Is this your full time job?
Yes, I quickly discovered that wedding photography is something you need to fully dedicate yourself to as a career to be the successful and to continue to improve in. There is so much more to it than just grabbing a camera on the weekends and heading to a couple weddings. I'm constantly talking to clients, editing, researching, learning, practicing, photographing engagement sessions, and more.
What equipment do you use?
I photograph with high end Canon DSLR cameras and many different lenses. I always have variety of flashes, stands, and more in my bags to be prepared for every location and situation. If you love photography as well, I’m happy to give you all the nitty gritty details about the specifics my gear, lens choices, and some typical camera settings.
What do you wear to the wedding?
I wear a dark shirt and black pants to blend in with the guests while still being able to move freely to capture photos in my style. I don’t find suit jackets and tuxedos to work well with being able to both crouch on the floor and hold the camera over my head at a moment's notice!
Do you charge for travel or are there any hidden fees?
The final package price I give you will have travel and all other fees included in it already. I only consider travel as a factor in price if the wedding is in a major city with high parking or toll cost or if the travel time becomes significant compared to the amount of time I will be photographing.
Have you shot at my venue before?
I have photographed at a large number locations spread around the tri-state area - from a high rise in NYC to in farm fields in PA. However, living in such a densely populated area there are always going to be new places. Often times, I find that factors like weather and time of year can make one location seem like a completely different one. I certainly have photographed somewhere similar to your wedding in the past and I always make sure I have some extra time at the venue early to scout out the spaces. I always do a fair bit of online research for every location prior to the wedding day.
How does the engagement session work?
An engagement session is great time to meet each other in advance and build a relationship so everyone completely comfortable with each other the day of the wedding. We spend 1 to 2 hours together exploring an interesting place and capturing some awesome images along the way focusing on your relationship and connection. Sessions can range wildly in complexity, I have done session everywhere from 4 AM on the Brooklyn Bridge to sunset photos on a quiet beach on Sandy Hook in October. We’ll talk about your personalities and the vibe you want and work together to pick a great spot and time.
Why choose you as our photographer? Can’t I buy a camera for the same price?
You definitely aren’t paying me because I bought expensive equipment that I can point in your general direction and do the work for me. I love weddings and photographing them is my passion and full time career. I cannot count the numbers of hours I have spent studying photographs, reading books, learning from mentors, and the sheer amount of hands on experience I have with a camera in every imaginable scenario. Weddings have a range of very bright sun to very dark receptions in wide open places to narrow church aisles and decisions need to be made very quickly and accurately. Sometimes I need to stand further back with a long lens and other times close with a wide lens. Some scenes are back lit, some are front lit, some have no light and need flash. Sometimes that flash needs to come from the side, sometimes above, and other times from both at once! No camera can make those type of decision for you. The camera is just a tool for me to make the my vision come to life and create lasting memories for you.
How do we book you and what's your payment plan?
I require a retainer based on the package cost and a contract signed electronically. The remaining balance is due along with the all the typical wedding vendor balances 14 days before the wedding. You can create a payment plan to divide that remaining balance into payments spread between booking and the wedding or send it as a single sum.
How far in advance do I need to book you?
Weekends tend to fill up quickly as couples commonly book a photographer shortly after a venue is chosen. However, I also work with couples still searching for a photographer just months or weeks in advance of their wedding day. Ask me about your particular date, and I will let you know if I am still available.
Do you have liability insurance?
Absolutely, it is required to even step foot in many venues, parks, and other historic locations!=. I can forward my certificates to your venue or locations as necessary.
I have a different question or want more information on something you touched on.
Call me, send me an email, text me, or lets meet in person to talk more. I make myself available almost any time as long provided I'm not at a wedding photographing!