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1. Wedding Photojournalism and 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 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 & 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 & 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 likely receive more than 100 photos per hour of coverage. Wedding clients with 8-hour coverage typically receive 800+ photos. Larger weddings tend to result in 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.
2. Pricing and 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, especially for very small events. Here are just three example coverages (there are more) on my price list:
À La Carte Coverage
$350/hr. (for 2 to 7 hrs.)
Most Complete Coverage
Those are just three examples. Of course, there are many options between $2,800 and $8,400! Please get in touch via the Contact page (link) or by phone at 201-541-1166 to get my complete price list with more coverage options 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 reserve the second photographer at least two months before your event. Pricing for this option will be as per your contract. A second photographer may be helpful in these situations:
If 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.
If 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.
If key events are happening simultaneously on different floors or in different rooms, or there is a large number of guests (225+), 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 sales tax (6.625 percent as of January 1, 2018). 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: Is there sales tax?
Sales tax applies if the client is a New Jersey resident and will receive the photos in a tangible form, such as a print or album. If tangible photos will be delivered in NJ, then sales tax applies, even if the event is photographed in another state. However, there is no sales tax if the photos will be delivered out of state for use out of state, or solely via electronic delivery (download or email). Electronic deliveries are considered intangible property, and aren’t taxed, even if the even is photographed in NJ.
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
3. Portraits and Scheduling
Q: How much time is needed for the portraits?
The portraits can be divided into two parts:
If you do the eight listed above, that would be (8 portraits @ 3 minutes each =) 24 minutes for the family & wedding party portion, plus the time for the couple portraits.
Each wedding is different. Some have big families and big wedding parties, while some have small families and no wedding party. It’s a good idea to make a list like the above, and estimate 3 minutes per portrait on the list. If you plan to do more than the eight key formals above, I recommend that you assign one or two people to help gather people for the portraits. Give them your portrait list so they know who to gather.
When deciding whether a portrait should be on your list, think about whether it will have a natural destination somewhere. Will it be framed and displayed by itself? Will it be in your wedding album? I don’t recommend making a list that includes many combinations of the same people. These get repetitive for everyone involved, especially the wedding couple! If time is short, it’s best to go with fewer portraits, while including more people in each. For example, while it may be nice to have a portrait of the bride separately with each parent and the groom separately with each parent, the key portrait (the one likely to get framed or be in the album) is the couple with all parents, or the couple with each set of parents.
Note that many weddings run behind schedule, so it’s a good idea to pad the schedule with a little extra time, just in case that happens.
Q: How much time should we plan for getting ready photos?
For clients that want getting ready photos, I recommend starting photography coverage about 60-90 minutes before you plan to be fully ready. If you’re doing portraits before the ceremony, be sure to also plan some time for those portraits after the getting ready and before the ceremony.
Q: Do you have any other advice on scheduling and staying on schedule?
Yes! Please see my article: “How to Keep a Wedding Day on Schedule” (link).
4. Digital Files and 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 when ordering prints. The added cost is $9 to $29, depending on the print size.
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. Most photos don’t need any retouching, but portraits that will be printed 8×10″ or larger can really benefit from it. I also retouch portraits when creating an album; this is included in the cost of the album. Please inquire if you have a special request for retouching of a photo.
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 simply cropping 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 as being “photoshopped”.
Need more info? Ready to reserve your date?