Why I love weddings
I love weddings because they are the most important family event. People look their best. Families are reunited, even the parts of them that would never celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah together. There is drama, pathos, time pressure, the need for diplomacy, good food, music, and usually, dancing. And above all, there is love. As a younger man, I didn't accept wedding assignments because I saw them as routine and boring. Also, before digital photography, weddings were a lot of work for two weeks after the wedding!
But time and the digital revolution changed my thinking. As a father of four daughters who has been the host and even officiator of several weddings, I love the challenge of getting great photographs in that electric atmosphere. It's like theatre without rehearsals -- the ultimate hi-wire act without a net. And that is why the skills of a photographer who loves to tell other people's stories more than his own are so valuable and unusual at a wedding. It's all about your wedding. THE wedding.
Weddings of Distinction - These are a few of my favorite wedding pictures.
Olivia & Jason were married on a bright sunny day in Troy, Ohio. The building they chose lent itself to the portraits, which we took separately beforehand and together during the reception. The major challenge was that during the wedding, the audience was in full sun while the wedding party was in the shade of the garden vestibule. I had rigged bright video lights in the proscenium but it wasn't quite enough to compete with the direct sunlight. They didn't mind me shooting during the ceremony.
Jen & Nathan's wedding was officiated by Alistair Begg at Parkside Church near Cleveland. There were strick rules for filming during the ceremony: no flash, no visible photographer, no clicking audible to the congregation. I limited myself to distant shots, out of earshot of the audience, during the ceremony, and it all worked out fine. Jen and Nathan didn't want to see each other before the moment of the ceremony, so while the individual portraits and many group portraits (bride with her family, groomsmen, etc.) were taken before the wedding, we had to orchestrate the movement of people to avoid crossing paths. It was a joyous wedding, and you can see it in the faces of the wedding party and guests.
Sara & Evan were married in a church with less than ideal architectural features, and the time we had to work on portraits was very small. I prelit two locations: one in the balcony and one in a hallway... and then we had 20 minutes to shoot the same-sex group pictures before the service, and even less time for the couple portraits after the service. It was complicated by the fact that the reception was miles away. If you can allow time to take photos, it always helps! On the other hand, this gallery demonstrates what I can do with limited time and unattractive surroundings.
Larger selection of wedding portraits and candids... I hope you enjoy these.
Packages and Pricing
Please view these published prices as a starting point in our discussion. I'm inclined to believe these prices are a bargain compared to the other outstanding wedding photographers in the area. But if you need to look for ways to save, I am willing to work with you.
I am also trying to keep the process as simple as possible for both of us. So here's how I like to work:
- SHOOTING COST -- Most of your cost when you work with me is in the shooting. My normal price is:
$1000 for a full day, (8 or more hours on site)
$600 for a "short" day which is 4 hours actual clock shooting time, after I have arrived and set up, and before I start tearing down to pack things in my car. Additional hours above that are $100, so 8 hours is the same price as a standard 10-hour day.
Unless you have a short wedding and don't want me to stay for the whole reception, it's very difficult to squeeze a wedding into 4 hours of photography time!
A full day is 9, 10, 11, 12 hours... whatever it takes. I'm there for you, from the early morning when you're getting your hair done, till you toss the bouquet, leave, and the guests are still dancing. If there's something worth remembering, I'll get it.
- PHOTO PURCHASE CREDIT -- I'll give the bride and groom a $100 credit toward pictures on my Zenfolio site if you hire me for a full day.
- PHOTO PURCHASE COSTS -- Once we have shot the wedding, I upload it to my online ordering site, where you can order as many prints and other items as you like. My site is hosted by Zenfolio, by far the best way that I have seen to look at pictures and order them online. And they do Photoshop correction at no charge to you. I have purposely set my wedding print prices on the low side, so that you can afford to buy as many prints as you like, and I make a small markup on each print. You crop and order yourself. Each of your family members can order their own prints without either you or us having to worry about it!
- BULK ORDER DISCOUNTS -- A lot of photographers have "packages". That doesn't make any sense to me. Why should I tell you how many prints to buy, and what sizes you want to have? Just order as many as you want, and I will build in little price incentives for larger orders. Those are the "packages". Every $100 of each order you or your family places earns a $10 discount, and every $500 ordered gets a $75 discount. And the base prices are reasonable. Order the album style you want, or just get the prints loose and keep them in a shoebox. It's up to you. At the time of order, you can specify color or black & white or sepia, metallic paper, lustre paper, etc. You can also order greeting cards, calendars, thank you notes, or printed on T-shirts or mugs -- whatever.
Here are some sample prices:
|8 Mini Wallets||4.91|
|4x6 proofs (no color correction)||1.49|
|4x6 deluxe color corrected prints||4.38|
|Greeting cards||1.88 each|
If you order very large quantities, I'll work with you on the prices to give you quantity breaks... let me know what you're thinking of before you order online, and I'll setup a custom price list for you.
A typical order of 250 assorted-size prints would cost anywhere from $400 to $1500 depending on how fancy and big the prints ... so if you're a "middle of the road" kind of person you might expect to spend about $1500 for your wedding by the time you count a full day shoot, and order $675 worth of prints (which would actually cost $500 with your one-time $100 credit and your $75 discount off of the next $500). Oh... and then there's sales tax on top of that in Washington, about 10%.
If you would like me to design a coffee table book or deluxe leather album, the cost could range from $500 to $1500, depending on size, binding and printing style, etc. If you give me a list and a sketch, it'll be less. If you leave it up to me, I'll design something ... but let's talk about your budget before I start.
I can make software available for you to design it yourself quite easily... and then your cost will be between $100 and $200 for a nice basic printed album. If you want premium quality, I can show you outstanding high-end memory books, as well. There are no preset "packages" that I force you into... you're the customer and whatever you want is fine by me.
One way that I'm the same as other wedding photographers is this: I need to charge a non-refundable deposit to reserve your day. As you know, the only thing we have to sell is our time, and weddings are booked months in advance. I charge 25% of the shooting fee for your wedding up front, and the balance two weeks before the wedding. Neither one of us can afford to have any tension about unpaid bills during the hectic two weeks that lead up to your special day. I also must pass along any tolls or ferry charges that I incur, and mileage of .59 per mile beyond a 50-mile radius from the Space Needle.
You will receive a CD or DVD-ROM with all the photos at full resolution on your first anniversary. This way, I get to control the quality of the prints and earn a little extra for enlargements you make. Trust me, I'll have earned it!
Timelapse of entire ceremony (a camera locked off and running from, say, the balcony of the church) made into a video movie. $100.
Engagement portraiture setting. I really recommend this. We can be creative and shoot anywhere, and it's fun for the guy to sneak a peak of his bride before the day. This could be in different clothes, too... something for your wall forever... just the two of you. (No, I don't do "boudoir" stuff. Fully clothed and decent). Or perhaps a shot for your thank you cards and holiday greetings. $300 for the two-hour session, plus $50 per hour for drive time beyond a 50-mile radius around the Space Needle. If I have to take the ferry, that's part of the $50 per hour.... sorry. You then own an unrestriced license to the pictures, and can order them from my Zenfolio site.
Flash movie. I'll produce a "movie" from your pictures, telling a story of the day that can be played on your website or on a DVD. Prices will range from $500 to $1500 depending on complexity and length. I only use music that can be licensed, so most likely we won't be able to use popular songs as background music. Call me to discuss your ideas, and I'll submit a firm quote.