Frequently Asked Questions about our Wedding Photography:
Are you the actual photographer for our wedding?
Some studios have other employees working for them, especially national outfits you might find on the internet. They may show you samples of their own personal work and actually send another photographer, usually one with far less experience and qualifications, to photograph your special day. Plain and simply, it is strictly only a business to them. You assume that the photographer showing you samples of his or her best photography will be photographing your wedding, but don’t! Ask and actually make sure. At Phillip’s Photography, I am always your personal photographer for your wedding. You can be assured that the samples I show you are a fine representation of what you can expect to receive for your wedding day. And most importantly, receive the personalized service that you deserve, on your special day.
Do you use back-up equipment?
This is a very important question to ask. The photographer can never foresee if a piece of equipment will fail. A professional should always, without exception, carry back-up equipment. A wedding day is just too important. I take along no less than 3 cameras and flash units for your wedding. I have never failed to capture a wedding due to equipment failure. If a photographer feels a back-up camera, flash and batteries are not necessary – Run, don’t walk away!
What about the difference in digital cameras. Which is better?
There are many photographers these days who do photography as a part-time (weekend) thing. Most of these photographers have simply purchased a camera kit from Best Buy or similar outlet, investing no more than $799.00 or less. I teach a photography workshop and have come across individuals like these more often lately. These cameras, while great for the average consumer, are not considered professional cameras, nor would a true professional photograph a wedding with one. Resolution and highlight detail are a couple of factors professionals look for, and cameras costing closer to $2000.00 – $3000.00 range are needed. It’s always amazing to me how little people will invest in education and equipment to start a business in professional photography.
What is the difference between a career professional and part-time hobbyist? Do you have any formal training?
Don’t take the word professional for granted. Unfortunately, there is no license to practice photography, no exams or certificates to have. A business license doesn’t make someone a professional. I’ve heard many horror stories about bad photographers! For example, waiting a year to get your wedding pictures! The same old saying especially applies to photographers – you get what you pay for. In the wedding photography profession, most are part-timers wishing to earn a little extra money on the weekend. Digital technology has brought out many, mainly because of the simplicity of total automation of the cameras. Some don’t even know how basic exposure and lighting works, which is sad that they portray themselves as professionals. Others have little or no formal training. And they’ll be the first ones to convince you it is not necessary. You need to ask yourself, “Is this who I want to capture my once in a lifetime event?” Career professionals, like myself, take the profession much more seriously. I personally have now 25 years in the photographic profession, with the experience of photographing nearly 500 weddings. Formal training includes achieving a Bachelor Arts Degree in Professional Photography. How serious is a photographer who has higher education in a profession other than professional photography. I have owned a successful full-time photography business for 14 years, fulfilling the needs of clients in a wide diversity of photographic opportunities. Constantly striving to keep up with current technology and to perfect the craft, I regularly attend workshops and seminars. It’s obvious that a career professional photographer spends much more time and effort involved in the profession, and I can honestly say that I am very serious and passionate about the craft, and it shows in my images. You need to know how committed the photographer really is to the profession. Don’t be afraid to ask about their education and experience. Find out if he or she actually owns a full-time photography business, where photography is their livelihood. Actually compare the images shown to you. This may be the most important thing that you can do. You may go from being impressed by one photographers work to being exceptionally amazed. There is a difference!
Why is there such a difference in prices.
I would say that the answer to this question depends on who you are considering to photograph your wedding and the simple use of the word professional. With the internet, you can actually find photography outfits very cheaply. These companies have gotten so aggressive in their marketing and advertising on the internet nationwide, and actually treat weddings with a cookie-cutter approach rather than individual specialized service. Such companies are cheapening professional wedding photography. They actually hire photographers just starting out or hobbyists who want to make some money on weekends. So they are able to offer lower photography prices. As mentioned earlier, there are many photographers who actually do it on the side while having other full-time careers. Photography to them is part-time. They are able to bring down their prices since they don’t have a lot invested. Less equipment, less knowledge, and most importantly less to worry about since it is not career and livelihood for them to depend on.
We’re thinking of having one of our friends photograph our wedding. Why should we reconsider this:
If you are considering having your friend or relative do the photography, yes, you will totally save money. No doubt about that. But don’t complain afterwards. If a friend or relative dabbles in photography, and might think he or she is actually pretty good, they are fooling themselves when it comes to photographing a wedding properly. Wedding photography is very high pressure. Many images have to be properly photographed in a very short amount of time. And it never fails that weddings always run late, which means even more pressure on the picture taking time. Only a true professional with experience and expert knowledge of photography and equipment would be able to deal with the inadequate amount of time to capture once in a lifetime beautiful images.
What if a piece of equipment fails. The camera may shut down without notice. Digital cameras are completely electronic. I have personally had one of my digital cameras shut down on me at a wedding. There was no warning. There was also no worries on my part since I had a back-up. It doesn’t happen often, but it can. Would your friend have a back-up camera, flash, and battery. Other complaints that I’ve heard from people is how the friend missed this or missed that, or was very obtrusive during the ceremony – such as getting between the minister and the couple to photograph the placement of the rings. Amateurs, such as friends and relatives, do not have the ethics of conducting themselves during a wedding as would a true professional. Is this important to you? I know, I would be the first to admit that weddings are expensive. But it always amazes me that the couple will invest $500.00 on a wedding cake, $800.00 or more on flowers, $700.00 to $1000.00 on a DJ, and even a photo booth, and then have a friend do the wedding photography to save money. Eventually, the cake was eaten, the flowers died, the DJ went home, and the only lasting memories are your wedding day pictures that you will take with you throughout your new lives together.
(Click on the image to enlarge)
What can we expect to pay for a wedding package? What is normally included?
I am constantly changing my prices and packages to stay competitive with other photographers as well as the economy. I am more than happy to discuss my price ranges and packages over the phone with you before scheduling a consultation. Presently, most packages include a DVD of all your wedding day pictures with full printing rights to the images. This means you can have any of your wedding day pictures printed anywhere. Most packages come with a beautifully engraved wedding album in either traditional or the newer digital, or sometimes called coffee table books. Your wedding day pictures are also posted on my website, with your approval, which can easily be viewed online by your family and guests. They also have the option to purchase reprints, enlargements and other items at the same time with their credit card. Other goodies that might be included in packages are: parent albums, folios, engagement sessions, signature boards, framed portraits etc. With the exception of added tax and travel fee for outside the Antelope Valley, there are no other hidden charges – no charge for extra photographer, no charge if requested to wear a tuxedo, no charge for assistants.
Do you offer Videography?
Yes, I most certainly offer video services for your special day. You also have a selection of packages to choose from. And, if you purchase a wedding photography package from us, you will receive 30% off our regular prices. All of my video packages include professional editing for a movie production video.
What are some of the specialized pieces of equipment that you will use to photograph our wedding?
First of all, I use the best in digital cameras. Cameras with high megapixel sensors with superb resolution. I believe in the use of flash in almost every situation, including outdoors – (see above example). The use of flash outdoors fills in shadows in certain situations and brings out a little sparkle in the eyes. Diffusion panels are also used for outdoor portraits to keep the harsh sunlight falling on faces causing harsh shadows and shiny spots. The end result with the diffusion panels and use of flash are beautiful portraits, suitable for a magazine cover. I also have equipment to set our flashes off remotely, creating a beautiful backlit photograph of a first dance and other pictures.
What is the “Journalistic approach” verses “Traditional approach” to photographing a wedding?
The “journalistic approach” started about 15 years ago and it instantly became the talk of the town in the wedding industry. Some photographers today strictly use it today. In my opinion, it takes away from professional photography. The journalistic approach means that everything is photographed at the wedding as it happens – no posing, no lighting, strictly candid photography in any situation. I personally feel that this is a good reason for a photographer not to practice professional portraiture with proper lighting. Much less knowledge of photography and equipment is required. Maybe this is why they have chosen this approach. The traditional approach follows the philosophy of proper lighting and posing techniques. But some photographers are what I consider stuck in 80’s and uses this approach with no real creativity in the posing or lighting. The posing is stiff with the same kind of pictures you have seen for decades. My approach, unless specifically requested by the couple, is a combination of both styles with added creativity in posing and lighting. I believe in good portrait lighting to make people look their best, and pose my couples with an unposed look and believable fashion. I get very thrilled when I hear how I captured the couple in a beautiful sunset or caught them kissing under a porch light – when in reality it was all posed and artificially lighted in a couple of minutes. Then there are times when I go into the journalistic approach, such as when the bride is getting ready, or reactions from the family during the ceremony. Emotions are captured all day with this approach, photographing people at the wedding without them even knowing it. A total candid moment. So you can see why I feel that both approaches are needed to really capture a wedding in a professional manner.
What is “Natural Light” photography?
Some photographers these days are advertising themselves as “Natural Light” photographers. This is not something that is extraordinary, or artistic in professional photography. In reality, this simply means capturing pictures in whatever lighting conditions are available, without the use of any photographic lighting equipment to improve the overall look. This may work in some situations, such as a complete shaded area as an overcast day; or window light portraits. But what if the pictures are taken under direct sunlight with no shaded area? If the sun is not diffused by a “diffusion panel” or “fill flash” used to fill in the harsh shadows caused by the direct sunlight – the result will be a very unflattering portrait, (see above example). To not have the shadows, these photographers may possibly place the sun directly behind of or in front of the subject. The results can be either the subject squinting because the sun is in their eyes, or possible lens flare caused by the sun shining into the camera lens – giving the overall look of the image to be washed out. Another example is when the subject is photographed in a shaded area with a sunny background. The result is always a “nuclear explosion” for the background (see example below), since the camera never can expose for both, with washed out colors. I’m sure some of you have taken pictures like this before. They sacrifice what could be a very beautiful background. Professional lighting is required to balance the subject with the background for a most beautiful portrait with rich saturated colors. Professional photographers know how to use professional lighting to enhance portraits, and depending on the situation, make it look like no additional lighting was used at all. Natural light pictures can work for some images, if used properly. But many “natural light” photographers have taken this to the extreme by photographing an entire wedding this way. It’s the simplest way of taking pictures, which is not “professional” portraiture. Why do they photograph this way? One reason may be to convince the public that it is some new art form. Or possibly it might be that they have little or no knowledge in professional lighting. Another reason might be is that they do not want to invest in this additional equipment. Again, in reality, it’s the simplest way of taking pictures. Why would you hire and pay a photographer good money who practices the same exact way of taking pictures and gets the same results as you would get with your camera phone. Please look out for “Natural Light Photographers,” and compare. You will definitely see a big difference.
Natural Light Photography Professional Lighting for nice balancing and colorful backgrounds.
Is a second photographer needed? Why do some outfits use 2 photographers?
Truthfully, I have never had a problem in photographing a wedding and capturing everything. I’ve never been accused of missing any moments. My clients are always very happy and satisfied with how many pictures I have provided them and the way I have captured their wedding day. Although, there are times when I will use a second photographer, for instance when I can’t be at two places at once – the brides house for candids and the grooms house for candids as well. Some studios advertise that they have 2 photographers and use this as a selling point. Don’t be fooled into them trying to convince you that this is necessary. Maybe that particular photographer can’t work a wedding alone – too slow with equipment or posing. You don’t have to concern yourselves whether there will be two photographers at your wedding.
Quantity vs. Quality?
Brides, please don’t choose a photographer because he or she is promising to take over 1000 images of your wedding day. That photographer is more concerned about impressing you with that number to get your business and not concerned on capturing beautiful works of art. Most of these images will be duplicates. I have witnessed one photographer who actually took 15 pictures of the wedding cake – REALLY! Wouldn’t you actually want the photographer to capture actually 500 to 600 high quality images that you would be proud to show your family and friends? The most your wedding album will contain is normally approx. 120 images. Quality is so much more important that quantity for your wedding day.
How many hours do I actually need when selecting a wedding package?
Most brides would not like the groom to see her prior to the ceremony. Any photographer, including myself, would love to take the bridal portraits prior to the wedding day. This gives us the chance to capture many beautiful images without the rush of a typical wedding day. Some photographers will insist on it. I don’t. I have always taken the portraits of the couple after the ceremony, with the exception of a few where the bride and groom wished to get them out of the way right before the ceremony. But there are still a number of other pictures that can be taken prior to the ceremony – portraits of the bride alone, bridesmaids, her immediate family, portraits of the groom, groomsman, his immediate family. This can be done since we don’t want the guests waiting too long after the ceremony while pictures are being taken. Think about it. After the ceremony, we still have to take family pictures with the couple, wedding party pictures, and finally portraits of the couple themselves. This usually takes about 45 min to 1 hour. You don’t want your guests to wait much longer. Have you heard horror stories about a photographer taking 2 hours for pictures after the ceremony? With this in mind, I like the photography to begin about 1 1/2 hrs. before the ceremony on larger packages and 1 hr. on a smaller package. Candid shots of getting hair and makeup will need even more time. Keep this in mind when figuring how many hours you will need in a wedding package. An unlimited time package has no worries, since I am with you all day. Please don’t figure photography will start when the ceremony begins – unless you have a long gap between the ceremony and reception. Also, I am off the clock when sitting down for dinner on a smaller (4 hr) package. I don’t feel that’s fair if you are feeding me. I hope this helps in deciding how many hours you will need in a wedding package.