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Wedding Photography F.A.Q.

Q. Are you available on this date?

A. On the upper right side of this page, you will see a date checker. This instantly tells you whether I am available to shoot your wedding on your day. Just a $300 down-payment is needed to hold the date, no matter what package you purchase.

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Q. Do you do engagement portraits?

A. Yes. On-location portraits are free when you book a wedding. It’s simple and casual. We go to a local park for about a half-hour and take beautiful outdoor portraits. A few days later you will receive all of your photos on CD and may use them however you choose – framing, invitations, programs, newspaper announcements, save-the-date cards, thank-you notes, etc. [ CLICK HERE to see an on-location portrait example ]

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Q. What are the typical steps to book wedding photography?

A. It's simple:

  1. Use the date checker to the upper right of this page to see if your date is available.

  2. If it is available, fill out the web form with your wedding details.

  3. Based on the time of year, ceremony site, and reception site, I will attempt to find a similar complete wedding web gallery that will help you get an idea of what you can expect from our photography.

  4. Look it over and email or call me with any questions.

  5. We will meet at our convenient Westport location and discuss the details of your wedding.

  6. If you decide to use our services, make a $300 down-payment to reserve your date.

  7. Return a completed Wedding Service Contract.

  8. I will be in touch to via email and/or phone to schedule the most convenient time for on-location engagement portraits.

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Q. Is there an advantage to all digital photography vs. negatives?

A. Since December, 2003 I have been 100% digital. I could write a book about how much better digital is but I’ll keep it short:

  1. Digital is forever, and never fades like negatives and prints do naturally

  2. Digital is neatly organized on disk rather than randomly on hundreds of negative strips

  3. Duplication of digital files does not diminish quality, permitting multiple backup copies

  4. Digital allows you to give consumer-grade photo labs a try and save money, since you will have multiple backup copies, previously, it was too risky to trust consumer-grade photo labs with original negatives

  5. Every digital photo file is color-enhanced to raise them from good to great lighting, contrast, and color.

The only downside to digital that I have found is that it is creating many new photographers who rely on what they see on the camera's screen and don’t learn proper lighting techniques that photographers who previously shot negatives, like myself, had to know.

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Q. Can we download the photo files into our computer and print them at home, and at a retail store?

A. Yes. All our wedding couples receive all their digital files on CD. These images are high-resolution, professionally color-enhanced, clearly-labeled digital photo files. They are NOT blocked by a watermark or copy-protection and they can be copied to your computer’s hard drive or to other CDs with NO restrictions. They are provided as JPEG files, the most common photo format, and organized with very simple file names.

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Q. How far will you travel to photograph a wedding?

A. I am available to photograph throughout the Midwest. Though I primarily work in the St. Louis Metropolitan Area, I have traveled hundreds of miles on assignments. Contact by phone or email to check your specific location.

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Q. Will you be shooting my wedding or will someone else?

A. I personally shoot each wedding. I enjoy wedding photography and I take the responsibly very seriously. I have not missed a single assignment for any reason in the past. I also have other photographers who shoot weddings for the company when a booking conflict occurs and at least one is always available in case something unexpected happens to a booked photographer. Also, I never, never, never switch photographers or cancel if a better higher-priced assignment comes along. I consider that behavior practiced by some wedding photographers completely unprofessional as well as unethical.

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Q. What if you are not available to shoot my wedding?

A. If I am not available to shoot your wedding, I will put you in touch with one of my other photographers. They are professionals who will provide the same expertise and quality that you can expect from me. You can meet with them at our Westport location and the price and packages are exactly the same.

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Q. What form of payment do you prefer?

A. You can pay with cash, check, money order, bank transfer, all major credit cards, or PayPal.

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Q. Must I pay the entire amount at once?

A. Various payment plans are available. The most popular includes three installments -- one that’s due when you sign up, the second on your wedding day, and the third when your wedding photographs are delivered. However, $300 is all that's required for a down-payment for any size package.

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Q. I have a morning wedding and an evening reception. Do I have to pay for the whole day to get coverage for both?

A. All photography is based on continuous hours. However, you shouldn't have to pay for a large gap in time when photography is not needed. We have a "Split time into two blocks" option that allows you to purchase a smaller package and plan for the time gap when you do not need photography. The gap can be any amount of time, even next day.

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Q. Do you need a list of the people in the wedding?

A. A list of the people at your wedding would be great but not required.

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Q. If I want certain photos taken, may I give you a list so you can make sure to get them?

A. I have no problem looking at your list. The photos that are most important to you are most important to me.

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Q. How would you describe your approach to wedding photography?

A. My style combines formally-posed photos and spontaneous candids. I strive to capture the special moments of your wedding day as they unfold -- unobtrusively, working quickly and quietly -- which allows the interactions and love of this special day to be captured without stiffness or self-consciousness.

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Q. What kind of cameras will be used?

A. All our cameras are professional Nikon and Fuji digital bodies, using a complement of Nikon AF lenses, and linked with off-camera Nikon flash units. For optimum resolution, the file size of all photos is set in the 6.1 to 12.34 Megapixel range, permitting super-sharp photos to be printed from them.

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Q. How will you be dressed?

A. Black pants, black shoes, dark shirt, tie, and metal name tag.

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Q. I do not want to miss my reception, how long will formal photos take?

A. We have all seen the situation where the bride, groom, and wedding party miss half of their reception because of photography delays. While photography is very important, it should not detract from your total wedding experience. For this reason, I can work extremely fast. Typically a couple will have a receiving line following the ceremony, drive off from the wedding, drive around for a few minutes while guests leave, return to the ceremony location or an agreed upon better location for portraits.

Formal shots of the family and bridal party can easily take 30 to 60 minutes. Typical sequence: 1. Time to fix make-up/wipe sweat/powder faces, 2. Family shots starting with the largest group and work down to just the parents and bride, 3. Time to fix make-up/wipe sweat/powder faces, 4. Wedding Party shots, 5. Time to fix make-up/wipe sweat/powder faces, 6. Couples shots, multiple locations if possible (suggest that only bridesmaid/mother/a friend come with, making it easier for you to relax than if all the guests were watching you). The time for this really depends on how many couple shots / locations you would like. I can easily rush the family shots and even the wedding party shots, but never like to rush through the shots of just the couple. (I wish I could do them first, but this is not practical in most situations.) The "time to fix make-up/wipe sweat/powder faces" may seem a little sarcastic, but perspiration is never in fashion.

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Q. I was the Maid of Honor at my friend's wedding and the photographer was very rude when posing us. How do you handle posing people?

A. At 6'3", 220 lbs. I have never needed to demand respect by being rude or yelling. I am very gentle when instructing and positioning since I don't expect anyone to act like professional models. I will directly guide each individual personally, but will not embarrass anyone while showing them how to look their best.

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Q. Another photographer has pressured me to take photos before the ceremony, but we don't want to see each other until the ceremony. What should I do?

A. The tradition of not seeing each other before the ceremony was definitely not started by a wedding photographer. It is becoming increasingly common for a couple to meet privately, exchange words, and sometimes little personal gifts before the ceremony. This “moment” is in the place of not seeing each other before walking down the aisle. Not only does this provide more time for photos with fresh make-up (especially in outdoor weddings), it also tends to have a calming effect on both parties when they're able to see each other prior to the ceremony. With all that said, I realize that the “no see” tradition is important to most couples. The choice is yours.

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Q. My Uncle Jerry has a very nice digital camera. Why should I hire you?

A. I have nothing against your Uncle Jerry. If you trust a friend or family member to capture your wedding, then best of luck to you, for luck is what you will most likely need. But luck should have very little to do with professional wedding photography. Each wedding gives me only one chance to get it right. I own at least two of every single piece of camera equipment I use, not because I love to spend twice as much money, but because I always keep a backup handy, and usually a backup to that backup. It is also reassuring to hire someone that has years of professional experienced with Adobe Photoshop, the foremost photography enhancement program, so photos can be perfectly color-enhanced, retouched, or manipulated.

The abbreviated case for professional photography: 1. Reliability – one chance to get it right, professional equipment plus professional back-up equipment, 2. Experience & Quality – wedding photography is more than just a fancy camera, 3. Memories – makes more sense to have a wedding without cake than a wedding without a professional photographer, 4. Between now and your wedding, will Uncle Jerry forget how to use his nice digital camera?

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Q. What is "color-enhancement"?

A. An original photograph can almost always be enhanced to offer more detail or improved lighting. Professional labs color-enhance everything they print, but I want your photos to look good even when you take them to a consumer-grade lab that doesn't offer color-enhancement. The only way I can insure that they will look great even when printing at Walgreen’s, Wal-Mart, Sam’s, etc. is to color-enhance each and every photo file before I give it to you. At 30 to 50 files an hour, this process takes an entire day, but it must be done. [CLICK HERE to see an example of color-enhancement]

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Q. Do I get to keep the preview album that you provide?

A. Yes. Your preview album is yours to keep at no additional cost.

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Q. What does the preview album look like?

A. The preview album measures a large 11 x 14 inches with only 6 images per page. The size of each photo makes them easy to see when deciding on reprints, unlike the original 8.5 x 11 inch thumbnail preview books [CLICK HERE to see an example of an old preview book, that some photographers are still using] Each photo’s file number is printed on the front, right below the image. Just look through the preview book, list the numbers you’ve selected, and have your prints made with confidence that the correct photos will be printed. [CLICK HERE to see an example of the preview book]

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Q. Is the final amount of photos in the packages all you take?

A. I have the capacity to take thousands of photos at each wedding. Afterward, I sort though the hundreds of photos I’ve taken and pick out the best. Since many of them are repetitive, I carefully examine them to make sure eyes are open, the smiles are the best, etc. If you would like to sort through all the photos and personally select the ones that you would like to print, I will be more than happy to allow you to sort them.

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Q. When will we receive the CD containing our photo files following our wedding date?

A: You receive them within a month after your wedding. Some photographers will sell you a CD of your digital files a year or so later, after they have forced you to purchase all your prints from them at a premium price. In contrast, we are a photography service, offering prints and albums as options, but never requiring that you buy them from us. Our approach to wedding photography is a logical two-step process: 1) Give a digital, high-resolution copy of all original photo files to the bride and groom, 2) Offer the option to purchase prints and albums from us.

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Q. How long do you keep a copy of my digital, high-resolution files for reprints?

A. Forever. We will not rush you into ordering prints by putting a time limit on it.

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Q. Can I take these files to Walgreen's for printing?

A. In the days of photo negatives, you would never dream of trusting a consumer-grade lab with your valuable originals. Today’s digital files are much safer and easy to back up. If something happens to your CD while printing, I will have multiple copies on file and you will have a backup archival copy on DVD, too. We offer professional printing through a number of professional labs we use, but your going to a consumer-grade lab is not a bad idea. Also, unlike other photographers offering just the digital files, I personally and painstakingly color-enhance each photo file so they do not need this added touch of enhancement that a professional lab provides. Each photo should look as good in the professional preview album as they do when you print them.

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Q. Will Walgreen's hassle me, accuse me of stealing, and not print my digital files because they appear to have been shot by a professional?

A. It is possible that a consumer-grade lab will ask about the copyright of photographs that appear to be shot by a professional company. They do not want to be responsible for printing copyrighted images. However, you own your digital files and the right to make as many copies as you would like. If you are asked about printing any of the files, just show them the label on your disk. [ CLICK HERE to see an example of the signed CD label ]

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Q. How long will my photos be viewable on the internet?

A. Forever. They will be hosted with this website. So as long as it is up, your photos will be up. I can make reprints available for your guests at anytime. It is also possible to bypass the password page if you would like to directly connect your photo web gallery up to your personal website.

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Q. Do you offer Black and White photography?

A. Yes. In fact, I can provide both color and B&W at the same time. Many photographers force their clients to make an unnecessary choice between the two. But why have lifelong regrets? Our high-performance digital cameras are able to produce both vibrant color prints and high-key B&Ws from the same photo. There is never an additional charge for this flexibility.

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Q. Do you offer the Black and White photos with color accents?

A. Yes. I usually do a few photos that are black and white with color accents for free. Large orders or complex photo manipulation is always done with an upfront price quote so you can be sure of the cost. [ CLICK HERE to see an example photo ]

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Q. Sepia-toned pictures have a special antique charm about them. Do you do those too?

A. Sure! We have complete control of the tonality of all prints, for which there's never an added charge.

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