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Frequently Asked Questions …
Wedding Photojournalism & Style
Q: What makes your photography different?
I value authentic moments and authentic emotions above all. For me, the magic of photography is how it draws from reality and transports us to a time, place and feeling — more vividly than our memories do. Our memories of events sometimes even merge with our photos of those events.
As a result, authentic documentary photos hold a special value for me. That doesn’t mean I never direct my subjects (I do direct people for portraits). It does mean that I put extra effort into the unposed photos.
Related to that, I value photos that authentically represent the way things looked and felt, without being over-stylized to match some trend. Wedding photography has seen many trends that came and went. Whatever is “in” at the moment is guaranteed to look dated in just a few years. Just look back at old wedding photos: the photos that captured real moments remain meaningful and timeless, while photos that were over-stylized show their age and often look corny.
I hope you’ll see in my photos a natural style — creative but not forced. I may try new things from time to time, but the photos are generally meant to have a classic and lasting style.
Finally, it seems that every photographer today describes themselves as unobtrusive. I do too — but not because it’s trendy. Rather, I have a low-key, quiet personality that fits in easily at a wedding or other event. I don’t have a tendency to direct. I can direct when needed, such as for some portraits, but for the most part I prefer to be an attentive observer — capturing moments as they happen.
Q: What is wedding photojournalism?
Wedding photojournalism is photography of the real moments of a wedding as they happen, without staging or direction by the photographer. I do also make requested posed portraits, although those are typically only a small percentage of the day’s photos. My goal is to document the real event as an artistic witness rather than as a director staging something.
For a photojournalist, key goals may include:
- anticipating action and peak moments;
- being very present, open to the spontaneous and unexpected;
- showing both action and reaction;
- making pictures that tell a story;
- getting close for details, but also stepping back to describe the place;
- establishing mutual trust to capture genuine moments and emotions;
- looking for good light, and using available light as much as practical;
- composing thoughtfully, being mindful of backgrounds, layers and juxtapositions;
- photographing with his/her own artistic sensibility;
- editing to present images that most effectively tell the story.
Q: How many photos will we receive, and will we receive every image that you take?
You will receive approximately 100 photos per hour of coverage. Wedding clients with 8-hour coverage typically receive 800 or more photos. I do take more than that, but edit some out (such as blinks).
Q: Will you photograph every person at the wedding?
Unlikely, but please feel free to ask for photos of specific people and groups.
Q: Will you photograph each table?
I usually make candid photos of guests interacting with the bride and groom. Posed table photos are rarely done as many guests are only seated when they are eating or listening to a speech — impractical times for table shots. While food is being served, I have to stay out of the way of the servers. At other times, guests move around to mingle; they get up to dance or go to the bar, so tables are usually incomplete. Photographing tables involves asking people on one side of the table to get up and stand behind people on the other side of the table, which takes a good deal of time if there are many tables. Tall centerpieces will get in the way. Also, if I’m doing table photos while the bride and groom dancing or interacting with guests somewhere else, I can miss a lot of good photos.
If you would like table photos, I recommend that the bride and groom be in each table photo because guests will quickly gather for a photo with the bride and groom, and it makes for a more meaningful photo. Otherwise it is just the photographer interrupting their meal. Table photos at a few selected tables can be done fairly quickly, but a group photo at every table can take up much of the reception time if there are many tables.
Pricing & Booking
Q: What are your rates and are you available for our wedding date?
I offer a wide range of coverage options and each can be customized to your wedding. Rates may be adjusted based on the season and other circumstances. For example, rates may be lower for events that are relatively small in size. Please get in touch via the Contact page (link) or by phone at 201-541-1166 for my price list and to check availability. Please mention the event date and locations and how you heard about me.
Q: Can you provide a second photographer?
Yes! Please see the current price list for the cost of this option. Please reserve the second photographer at least two months before your event. A second photographer may be helpful when:
- photography is needed at two locations at the same time. An example of this is when the bride and groom are getting ready at different locations. If they are near each other, such as in the same hotel, then a solo photographer may be able to first photograph one and then the other.
- photography is required from two perspectives at the same time. An example of this is during the ceremony when one photographer may be at the front of the aisle while the other is at the back.
- key events are happening simultaneously on different floors or in different rooms, or there is a large number of guests (250+), or clients simply want more photos.
Q: How do we reserve our date?
Your date is reserved once I receive your signed contract and a retainer check for 50% of the contract total. Dates are booked on a first come, first served basis. Dates are not held pending a scheduled meeting, or after a meeting, as other clients may actually submit their contract and retainer in the meantime. You can print the contract form linked in the introductory email or included in my printed information package. New Jersey residents please add 7% sales tax. I will return a fully signed copy of the contract for your records. The contract balance will be due two weeks before the event date and can be paid either by check or credit card.
Q: Does sales tax apply?
Yes if you are a New Jersey resident. NJ requires that I collect and remit sales tax on the entire coverage fee unless the photographs are to be delivered outside NJ for use by the client out of State. If the photographs are to be delivered in NJ, then sales tax applies, even if the event is photographed in another State. Sales tax does not apply if the photos are delivered solely electronically, such as via download.
Q: Is there a travel fee?
There is no travel fee if the location is less than 75 miles from Cresskill, NJ (07626). Please inquire about availability for farther locations. For locations that are more than 75 miles from Cresskill, a travel fee of $75 per hour is added for the round trip travel time. For example, if the location is three hours away, the round trip would be six hours, so the travel fee would be 6 x $75 = $450. The cost of hotel accommodation (if needed) is additional. Time and distance are calculated using Google Maps. Please inquire about additional travel fees if the assignment requires air travel.
Portraits and Scheduling
Q: Will there be any posed photos?
Although my wedding portfolio (link) emphasizes unposed moments, nearly all weddings also include some posed portraits, usually called the formal wedding photos, or “formals”. I encourage clients to schedule some time for portraits for family historical purposes. These usually include the bride and groom, wedding party, parents and immediate families. Be sure to also check out my page about Portraits at Weddings (link), which includes many examples of formal wedding photography. For most weddings, there are five key formals (which may be all you need):
- Bride and Groom
- Bride and Groom with Parents
- Bride and Groom with Bride’s Family
- Bride and Groom with Groom’s Family
- Bride and Groom with Wedding Party
Keep in mind that each photo on your list is likely to take about 3 minutes (sometime more for big groups). Please make everyone aware of the scheduled time for group photos, and send me a list of your requested portraits at least a week before the wedding.
If you plan to do more than the five key formals above, I recommend that you assign one or two people to help gather people for the group photos. Give them your portrait list so they know who to gather.
Q: How much time is needed for the portraits?
For scheduling, I estimate that each portrait will take 3 minutes. For example, a list of five key formals may take just 15 minutes to complete, while a list of 30 formals may realistically take 90 minutes.
In addition, plan some time for portraits of the bride and groom — anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes. How much time depends on the location and on your personal taste for portraits. More time definitely helps if the location offers interesting places for pictures.
Q: How much time should we plan for getting ready photos?
Not all clients request getting ready photos, but for the ones that do I recommend 1 to 2 hours of coverage of the getting ready time, especially if there will be some posed portraits toward the end of that time.
Q: Do you have any advice on scheduling and staying on schedule?
Yes! Please see my article: “How to Keep a Wedding Day on Schedule” (link).
Digital Files & Prints
Q: What is the resolution and format of the digital files?
High-resolution digital photo files are usually about 20 megapixels in JPEG format. This resolution is suitable for very large prints. Be sure to make backup copies and to store them in different locations.
Q: Are the digital files individually adjusted?
Yes, digital files are individually adjustmented for color, contrast and brightness. They are generally not cropped or retouched.
Q: Are any photos retouched?
Retouching is available as an added cost option when ordering prints. I also retouch portraits when creating an album. Please inquire if you have a special request for retouching of a photo.
Retouching usually consists of reducing the appearance of details such as glare on eyeglasses, shine on foreheads, yellow teeth, excessive skin redness, wrinkles, temporary blemishes and lint on clothing
I occasionally also retouch small details in the background. When practical, I may do a bit of slimming to counter the wide-angle distortion inherent in some lenses (“pounds added by the camera”). I generally cannot remove people or large objects unless it’s practical to do so by ordinary cropping of the sides of a photo.
Good retouching is subtle, never obvious. It doesn’t draw any attention to itself. This is why I put the emphasis on reducing certain details, rather than eliminating them. Eliminating them completely would result in an unnatural, overly perfect look. While “perfect” may sound appealing, in practice it looks artificial and is easily spotted by the viewer. This makes the viewer distrust the photo as “fake” or “photoshopped”.