SJP's Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions

1) What is your style?

My goal is to create images to capture the story of your day with a blend of photographic styles including photojournalism, traditional portraiture, and editorial photography.  Here's what all of that means:

Photojournalism is a reality-based approach to document real moments.  Rather than posing for pictures, I will follow you and your guests throughout the wedding day, capturing events as they unfold.  When needed, I will try to blend seamlessly into the background and become “invisible” to the crowd (this is method is applied best during getting ready, wedding ceremony, and most of the reception).  The best photojournalists are both experienced to anticipate the shot and also work very quickly to capture the fleeting story.

Traditional Portraiture:  A style often used for engagement and formal portraits, is a traditional approach with an emphasis on composition, lighting, and background. I will direct subjects together in an interesting environment, encouraging them to relax and interact.  Good portraits can capture some of the spontaneity of candids while also simultaneously giving direction for natural posing in the best settings.

Editorial Photography: Often times these are the kinds of images you are seeing in a bridal magazine or printed as a fine art for the home.   The concept is picture perfect details, with fantasy-like images that dramatize the subject, while also being very fashion forward.  The amount of planning that goes into editorial shoots can be very time consuming from wardrobe preparation, hair/makeup, location scouting, perfect lighting, and post production.  Though not a style generally executed on a wedding day because of limitations, you may want to incorporate some of this style if you love fashion and artsy details.

2) How long do we need coverage for?

Photography coverage usually begins 30 minutes before the bride gets into her dress and ends 30 minutes after the last big event at the reception. For most weddings this is about 6-8 hours.  Below is a general guide on how I like to schedule photos.

  • Getting Ready: 30-45 minutes
  • Bride + Bridesmaids: 15-20 minutes (before the ceremony is recommended)
  • Groom + Groomsmen: 15-20 minutes (before the ceremony is recommended)
  • First Look (optional): 10-20 minutes. Some couples choose to exchange gifts, say a prayer, or just enjoy a quiet moment together before the day unfolds.  A first look will also allow extra time for formal pictures before the ceremony allowing more time later in the day to socialize with guests and enjoy cocktail hour.
  • Entire Wedding Party: 10-20 minutes (after the First Look or immediately following the ceremony)
  • Romantic Pictures of the Bride and Groom: 20-40 minutes (before ceremony, immediately after ceremony, and/or at sunset)
  • Pre Ceremony: Please allow at least 20-30 minutes before your ceremony to prepare and capture details
  • Wedding Ceremony: usually 20-60 minutes depending on faith and traditions
  • Immediate Family:  1-3 minutes per small group, 2-4 minutes for each group up to 8 and 5+ minutes for larger groups of 8+ people. (immediately following ceremony is recommended).
  • Extended Family: I suggest keeping family formals to immediate family only and pictures with extended family members as you see them during reception. If you would like to include extended family in the formals, then use the same timing calculations as for immediate family.
  • Reception: usually once we get to the reception, the rest of the evening naturally unfolds with dinner and dancing.  Scheduled events may include toasts, first dances, cake cutting, etc.
  • Guest coverage: although your guests will not be the main focus of the day, you can expect a few of them to be photographed.  If you want more pictures of your guests having fun and also entertain them at the same time with a take-home souvenir, you may want to consider getting a Photobooth.  Ask me for referrals.

3) What kind of equipment do you use?

When it comes down to it, most all of the professional cameras are good.  The most noticeable difference will be attributed directly to photographer direction, talent, experience, and creativity. With that said, I have invested a small fortune to have the best money can buy for your big day.

My favorite digital camera is the Canon 5DM3 for the excellent low light ability, multiple focal points, and silent shutter clicks.  My favorite lenses are the 50mm 1.2L for details and the 70-200mm IS 2.8L for capturing moments from a distance which is perfect for during your ceremony and reception.  If I was going on vacation and could only take 1 lens, I would most likely be my 24-70mm 2.8L which is great for close range shots and a little zoom for distance.

For every wedding, I will bring more than one of everything (camera body, lens, and flashes) for an added level of insurance in case something goes wrong.

For a comprehensive list of my professional gear, click HERE.

4) Do we need additional photographers?

For your special event, an additional photographer is suggested to ensure a moment is never missed. With two photographers, we can work together to create artistic images or split up when time is tight to cover things like bride and groom are getting ready at different locations and during cocktail hour when guests are mingling and the bride and groom are doing formal pictures.  With a guest count over 150+ I suggest at least 3 photographers for proper coverage.

5) Do you have insurance?

Yes.  A certificate of liability can be provided to your venue upon request.

6)  How long have you been in business?

This year, I am celebrating both 9 years as a Southern California resident and small business owner.

7) Do you edit all of the images or just some?

There are two different kinds of edits I provide. 1) First Basic Edits are applied to all of your images.  This includes image selection, color adjustments, exposure, and cropping. The second kind of edit is 2) Advanced Photo Retouching and it includes things like skin smoothing, teeth whitening, body contouring, removal of distracting stuff (like exit signs or cracks in the sidewalk), and other Photoshop magic.  All advanced edits are complimentary with product orders or available at $30 per image. Samples of edits are available online HERE.

8) How many pictures will we get?

As a general guide you can expect about 100 images per hour of shooting for two photographers.  For a full 8 hour day that would be about 800 images, for 7 hours you can expect about 700 images, for 1 photographer coverage 6 hours you can expect about 450+ images. Please note this is an estimate, and the actual number of images for your event may vary.

9) When can we expect to see our pictures?

Turn around time on your images is really fast (and faster than 95% of wedding photographers I know).  I guarantee you will have access to a complete online gallery of your wedding images within 21 days after your wedding.  You can share your wedding gallery with friends and family, and order products directly from a professional photo lab mailed directly to your home.

10) How do we book you?

Since I am limited on the number of weddings I accept every year, I feel it is important to make sure we are a good match.  It is highly recommend that we meet in person (if you're local) before moving forward. Wedding photography commissions are accepted up to one year in advance on a first come first serve basis with a contract plus retainer in the amount of 50% to hold your date and time.  Acceptable forms of payment includes checks and cash.


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