FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: WHAT’S YOUR PROCESS LIKE FOR WORKING WITH NEW CUSTOMERS?
A: As smooth as possible! We both want to make sure we’re a good fit for each other. Ideally, I'd love to have a bit of basic info from you first, and then arrange a phone call to get to know each other and answer any questions we have. Once we set a time and location and both know what to expect, I’ll send you an invoice, and you can reserve the session with a 25% retainer. I’ll be happy to give some advice about what to wear, and other ways to prepare for the shoot. Whether you love or hate being in front of a camera, during our session I’ll make sure you feel comfortable and confident, like the superstar you are! You can be as involved in the creative process as you’d like to be. I love talking about photography and collaborating with my clients so that I understand and achieve their vision and goals for each project. Every client is unique, so your photos should be too!
If it’s a wedding, I’d also love to meet for a coffee/drink beforehand just to talk through your wedding schedule so everybody knows what to expect. A wedding is such a big event that I find it helps everyone involved to have a face-to-face before the big day. You're going to want to be focusing on having a blast and enjoying it rather than worrying about the schedule. I’ll want to know what the day looks like in terms of timing, what your officiant is going to say right before he or she asks for the rings or tells you to kiss so I can be ready, and who the immediate family and other "VIPs" are, so I make sure to pay special attention to them at the wedding. I have a list of things to keep in mind that I will send you later as well, so we're all on the same page. But I’d also love to hear about how you met, how the proposal went down, and how you like to spend your time. And feel free to ask me about myself. Ideally, when I show up at your wedding, I want you to feel like your friend with some photo gear is hanging out and taking some photos.
Q: WHAT EQUIPMENT DO YOU USE?
A: I shoot with a Canon 5D Mk IV, along with my trusty Canon 5D Mk II and occasionally a Fujifilm X-T1, along with a bag (or bags) full of Canon lenses (primes and zooms), Speedlites, a Gitzo tripod, and lots of various light modifiers, filters, and grip equipment. If there is something special you’re looking for, and I don’t have it, we can rent it.
Q: I SEE THAT YOU LIVE IN PORTLAND, BUT WILL YOU TRAVEL FOR PHOTOSHOOTS?
A: Absolutely! If you cover my travel expenses, I'll go pretty much anywhere, and I'm fine with economy class and crashing on your sofa if necessary.
Q: ARE YOU A NATURAL LIGHT PHOTOGRAPHER? I DON’T LIKE FLASH PHOTOS.
A: Yes, I’m a natural light photographer, but I’m also an external light photographer; and, like you, I hate bad flash photography. Bad flash photography is what you usually get when you shoot with flash on your phone, or the pop-up flash on your dSLR: a flat and unflattering blast of bluish light that makes people look like deers-in-headlights. That’s not what I do. I’m an available light photographer, meaning I will use whatever light that I have available, including my set of professional flashes, modifiers, stands, and grips, to help me get the best shot no matter what the ambient light conditions are.
If it’s that wonderful time of day that photographer’s call “magic hour” and the sunlight looks amazing, then great! But sometimes the weather isn’t ideal, or we need to shoot indoors, at night, in dim ambient lighting, and having the option to use flash, and use it well, is critical. Think about all of your favorite movies and TV shows, and ask yourself how much of the time they don’t use additional lighting. The answer? Never.
The truth is, shooting with flash adds complications for the photographer. It’s more equipment to carry, more time to set-up and adjust, and more variables to think about. So there are times when it’s not the ideal solution. If that’s the case, I’ll stick with natural light and stay more mobile so I can shoot faster. But the benefits of external light can potentially be huge. Even if it is sunny, the sun might be really harsh, and coming from a direction and angle that means choosing between you squinting into the sunlight, or your face being lost in shadow. Flash can help balance the light in that scenario so that you look your best.
It can also turn good lighting into great lighting, by setting a certain mood and placing emphasis on the elements of the photo that you want the viewer to focus on. It can add just the right touch of flattering, beautiful light to draw attention to your face, add a sparkle to your eyes, and simply look cool. Being able to use external lighting well is an essential skill that your photographer should have in his or her toolbox.
Q: WHAT DO YOU CHARGE?
A: The short answer is: it depends. Here's a slightly longer answer: An individual portrait session starts at about $350, couples start at about $400, and groups start at about $450. Our most popular wedding package is $2400. If you're eloping or doing a micro-wedding on a weekday in the off-season, I can probably keep it to $1000, or maybe slightly less. For a full listing of wedding prices, or to book me, just send me some info, and I'll get back to you within 24 hours or less. We'll work out the details, and if we both want to move forward, we'll pick a date and time, and I'll take a 25% retainer to lock it down. I'm also available for commercial photography, events, products, real estate, and more. Click here for additional price info.
Q: WHY DOES WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY COST SO MUCH?
A: I hear you. Before I became a photographer, I wondered the same thing. Shooting a wedding costs more than the other kinds of portraits I do because it's nearly always way more difficult. It combines individual and couple portraits, group shots, general candid event photography, and even elements of product photographer (your decorations), and architecture (your venues) into one huge thing.
There's a lot more prep time, the stakes are higher during the wedding itself (if things go wrong, you can't just re-schedule), and after everybody else goes home, the photographer's job has just begun. I estimate that each hour of shooting means a bare minimum of at least three hours culling and editing on my computer.
Don't get me wrong: I love this job, and I totally understand not wanting to pay any more than you have to. And if you can find a really good photographer to shoot your wedding on the cheap, good for you! Just please understand he or she is doing you a huge favor and loves you very, very, very much.
Q: CAN YOU GIVE ME A DISCOUNT?
A: Maybe. I believe that everyone deserves some great photos, and I've been in difficult situations, so even if you're on a super-tight budget, don't hesitate to get in touch, tell me your story, and see if I'm offering any special discounts. I can't promise anything, as I've got bills to pay too, but I'll try to work something out with you. In the meantime, it can't hurt if you help me promote my work by liking, commenting on, and sharing my portfolio and social media, and subscribing to my blog.
Q: WHY SHOULD I PICK YOU AS MY WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER?
A: I consider it an honor to help two people preserve the memories of what is arguably the most important day of their entire lives. The truth is, your wedding is probably the only chance you'll ever have to convince all of the people you love the most to use up some vacation time to get in a car and/or plane to see you, wear what you want them to wear, give you presents, and share in a celebration of something amazing: you've found your soulmate.
It all goes by so quickly, and when it's over, the flowers, the decorations, and probably the leftover cake are all thrown away, and the dress is hung in the back of the closet, never to be worn again. As time passes, the groom's suit may somehow "shrink" so it doesn't fit anymore, that awesome crockpot you got from your aunt will need replacing, and even your rings could tarnish or get lost. But your wedding photos will always be there to take you back in time. When you're old and terribly senile, your grandkid will be able to flip through shots with you on her iBrain and she'll say, "You and grandpa sure dressed funny back then!" and you'll say, "Maybe, but that guy with the flower on his jacket is pretty hot."
I welcome the heavy responsibility that comes with being a wedding photographer, and I take it seriously. I've done my research, and invested a lot of energy and sweat into learning my craft. I know which lens to use, and which combination of camera knobs and dials will make you and your loved ones look your finest. I know what time of day and which angle of sunlight is the most flattering, but I know how to use external lighting gear to make you look good even if there's no sun and the only lighting at your reception is ugly fluorescent green. I can also tell you what color ceiling will make the photographer's job easier even if you don't choose me (spoiler: it's white).
I'll work closely with you beforehand, getting to know not just the wedding schedule, but you and your story, to make sure I know what to expect from your special day and how you want to remember it. I want to know how you met, how the proposal went down, and what your favorite movie or song is. I want to know who is likely to give the funniest speech, who's going to tear up the dance floor, what your color scheme is, what you're going wear, and if the watch you're going to rock is an old family heirloom. All this stuff will actually help me get better photos.
Every wedding and every wedding couple is different, and I love that! It keeps things fresh. But there will undoubtedly be laughs and tears, and I'll strive to be in the right place at the right time with the right gear and the right settings to capture those magic moments for you. And I know how crazy weddings can get, so I'll do what I can to help the day go as smoothly as possible, yet still have the camera ready in case things get viral.
After everybody heads home, I'll probably devote more time and effort into obsessing over curating and developing your photos than you can possibly imagine, but I'll get them to you as soon as I can, because I'll be dying to hear that you love them!
Each wedding I photograph means another opportunity to help people preserve perhaps the most important event of their lives so far, and maybe even make some new friends in the process.
Is this job easy? Nope. And anybody who tells you that it is probably isn't doing it right. The stakes are high, lighting is rarely ideal, weather is never reliable, it's apparently against the laws of physics to have everyone in a group photo look and smile at the camera simultaneously, and there's no coming back tomorrow to try again. Is what I do meaningful and fulfilling? Absolutely.
So should you hire me as your wedding photographer? I'd vote yes, but even if you don't, please make sure you get somebody who cares as much as I do!
Q: WHAT SHOULD WE WEAR FOR OUR ENGAGEMENT SHOOT?
A: I actually wrote a whole blog post about this. You can read it here. If you book a session with me, I’ll be happy to give specific advice to you based on your needs and what you have available.
Q: I DON'T SEE ________ PHOTOGRAPHY ON YOUR SITE. CAN YOU DO IT?
A: Probably! And if I can't, I can help you find someone who can. While I specialize in photographing people, and I gravitate toward a certain style, I do love all kinds of photography, and chances are I would be able to help you out with your project, even if it's just suggesting someone else who can do the job better than me.
Q: DO YOU DO PRINTS AND ALBUMS?
A: Absolutely! You can easily order a huge variety of high-quality prints, ready-to-hang wall art (in traditional canvas, sleek, modern metal, and beautifully textured wood), and keepsakes (stickers, mugs, aprons, magnets, buttons, phone cases, and much more) directly from your personalized gallery, and I'd be happy to help you tell your story with a custom-made book bound in linen, leather, or even with your favorite photo on the cover.
Okay, so this is going to sound like a sales pitch (because it is), but our albums are beautiful, heirloom-quality works of art made with classic, elegant layouts, archival photographic paper, lay-flat binding, and gorgeous linen covers that can be passed down generations. Personalize yours with upgrades such as a leather cover, thicker pages, debossing, a craftsman wood box, and more...
I highly recommend you get prints made, even if you don't go through me. These days, we're all so used to seeing our photos on digital screens, but more and more people are starting to realize there's something so intangibly magical about putting all those pixels into print and making your favorite photos come alive on your wall, your desk, or your coffee table.
Q: CAN YOU GIVE ME THE RAW, UNEDITED FILES?
A: Sorry, but no. They're called raw files because they're not ready yet. It would be like asking a chef to just drop all of the raw ingredients into a bowl and hand them to you, or for an artist to give you some brushes, paint, and a canvas with a rough, sketched outline. Raw files, straight out of the camera, are un-cooked. They're flat, unsharp, and dull, by design, both because pros want the camera to be able to capture as much data as possible, and because we want to make all the decisions about how to process that data.
After the last shot has been taken, my job is far from over. The post-processing nearly always takes far more time than the actual shoot did, and it’s an absolutely integral part of the creative process. The only potential exception is if you are a commercial or editorial client with a specific editing process that you apply to all of your visual material.
Q: CAN I SHARE MY PHOTOS ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
A: Sure! But please promise me that you won’t crop or edit the photos I give you in any way. It’s critically important to me that any of my work that is shared reflects the job I actually did.
Q: YOU MOVED FROM HAWAI’I TO MOSCOW? WHY?
A: For the weather ;^) Seriously though, it’s a long story. I can tell you all about it during our photo shoot. I love both places, and now that I’m in Portland, I feel like I’m getting a weird, awesome combination of the two.