FAQ

Ack! We don't even know where to start. Can you help us figure out our timeline?

Absolutely. I offer photography scheduling services as part of every booking. We'll talk timelines, times of day, locations, and light. If you need extra planning and day-of coordination, I can refer you to several awesome wedding coordinators who can really help you plan.

Will you describe your style for us?

I am a documentary photographer. This means I follow a subject that I am engaged with for an extended period of time in order to tell a visual story. I primarily use a 35mm and an 85mm lens combination that comes to us from classic photojournalism. Unlike portrait photography, where the subject is making eye contact to connect with the viewer, I prefer for people to be connecting with each other or the environment that they are in, and not looking at the camera so much. Of course, when we are doing a portrait session, that changes things somewhat! Mostly I'm concerned with capturing the ephemera of the day--who is there, how you feel, how they feel, what was happening.

My editing style is based on a film look, and tends toward a moodier, more atmospheric feel. I like big light and equally big shadows, and deep, muted colors. 

Yeah, what about portrait sessions? It's not all documentary, right?

You are right! I love doing portrait sessions. I think of them as organized portraiture, so while family photos tend to be more formal, bridal party and couple's portrait sessions are a mix of slightly more posed work, and also directed work, where I give you direction that connects you to each other in an authentic way, and that promotes authentic expression of yourselves. This gives a candid feel to what are the more unconventional portraits you see in my portfolio.

Do you work with a second photographer?

Not usually, no. 95% of the weddings I photograph in a year are solo missions. That said, second photographer can be added on to any package. 

Want the long answer? Read on!

If you are interested in a second photographer, we'll talk about this in our initial meeting and get to the why of this. More images don't necessarily mean more value. I am sensitive to the fact that my style is somewhat unique, and finding another photographer who compliments my style is difficult. As it is, you'll be receiving around 50 images per booked hour of photography time. If you book 8 hours, that's 400 images from a single photographer, which is already an overwhelming amount of images of your day.

Because I am used to working alone, I am a very active photographer. I move around a lot, as I want to capture and describe the emotions of a scene from as many angles as possible. Due to this, a second photographer is pretty redundant and sometimes is a distraction. Instead of being able to focus on what's in front of me, my attention is divided between the day and making sure my second is covering what they need to cover. Additionally, because my style emphasizes candid and organic images, I rely on being as invisible as possible, which is difficult enough when I am alone, much less when there are two or more of us. In the early days of my involvement with weddings, I was sometimes dispatched to weddings with anywhere between 2-4 photographers. It was ridiculous. If there was a videography team there, it got even worse. Your wedding should be about having a wedding, not being on the run from the paparazzi! The images you get from just the one photographer will be amazing, and you will not be viewing them five years later, thinking about everything that was missed.

I typically recommend second photographers if there is an extreme barrier to my photographing both people getting ready (and if that's required), if capture of the entire cocktail hour is important while we are out photographing the wedding party, for certain very difficult venues, or if the wedding is over 300 people and it will be truly difficult for me to represent the people that were there by myself.

The second photographers that I employ are professional photographers with their own businesses and who use professional-level gear. I do not employ students, interns, or otherwise learning photographers at this rate. I typically book these photographers a couple months prior to the wedding, through our amazing community of photographers. We are unable to book each other sooner than that, as people let their own calendars fill in first, then open up seconding slots. You will not meet the second photographer prior to the day, as their salary covers only photography time on the day, but I will forward their website and make introductions the day of, when possible.

Let's talk about your wedding day vision and figure out if a second shooter would be a good investment for you!

What if my partner and I are getting ready in two different locations? Don't I need a second shooter for that? 

Not necessarily! As I said above, 95% of the weddings I photograph are solo missions. I visit and work with both partners to the ceremony! This is for a couple reasons: 

1) I find that some getting ready photography takes anywhere from 10-20 minutes. In heteronormative weddings, this is usually the mens' side of things. Additionally, in some het weddings and in non-het weddings, there is one partner who may simply not want a ton of getting ready, and is only interested in a specific thing, like a certain person tying a tie, pinning on a flower, having a brief drink together before the ceremony. Sometimes photography of this type occurs at the ceremony site. Sometimes one partner shows up to the ceremony site early, and I often photograph them hanging out together during this time, which usually tells a fun story of friendship and pre-ceremony jitters.

2) Usually one partner gets ready earlier than the other. Sometimes this is because help is needed with setting up chairs, fixing things, greeting guests, and making sure everything is ready for the ceremony. It's easy to photograph some of this partner getting ready prior to set up, then zip to the second partner with plenty of time to photograph their getting ready, which is usually of the more involved sort.

Especially in these instances, it's much more economical to pay for an extra hour of my time to solve this problem, than it is to pay for a second shooter that will be redundant later in the day. Let's chat about your circumstances and see if a second shooter is really right for you!

What kind of qualifications or education do you have to do this?

I have a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Photography and Performance Art from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and a Masters of Fine Arts in Video and Performance Art from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Before finishing my Masters degree, I interned at a wedding photography company in Colorado, where I learned an extraordinary amount about being a professional wedding photographer, which was different than the art studio experience I'd had prior to this. I also learned about running a small photography business, wedding day schedule management, photo editing for this particular business, and general administrative workflow.

I am utterly grateful for that experience. It was a life- and game-changing opportunity. Within four months, I was moved up to second photographer, and a couple months later, I was promoted again lead and solo photographer.  I photographed 25 weddings in my first year with this company. Not only did this give me a skill to build my dream of self-employment through the arts, it taught me about how important community is over competition.

Is this your only job?

Yes and no. My wedding photography business my primary source of income, and how I pay my rent, bills, car loan, student loans, health insurance, etc. Around this, I sometimes teach as an adjunct professor in the UW system. For the last three years, I've taught photography, performance art, video art, digital art, and design in various combinations at both UW-Madison and UW-Whitewater. I also do freelance film-making and design.

Teaching is one of my passions. I love sharing knowledge, and growing passion for art and specifically photography in others. Teaching in universities was always my dream, but if you know anything about academia, you'll know how hard those positions are to secure. Adjuncting is the next best thing, but it's also meant that my back up plan of being a freelance photographer is no longer the back up, but my primary job! I'm very judicious about accepting either weddings or teaching appointments that interfere with my wedding photography work. Luckily, the seasons are offset in such a way that it's fairly easy to balance.

Will you back up our images?

Yes! I immediately download and archive your photos in three separate places as soon as I get home. Once images are edited, they are uploaded to a SmugMug gallery, and also sent to you on a USB drive. Images will remain in their SmugMug galleries for two years for sharing and purchasing prints. I encourage all my couples to immediately back up their wedding USB drives to one or two other secure digital locations.

What kind of gear do you use?

I use professional Canon cameras and L-class professional lenses. My cameras are full frame and are really amazing pieces of technology. I also use three speed lights for when I need some extra lighting, as well as some video lights when the occasion warrants. I take really good care of them and upgrade frequently so I am working with the best equipment possible.

If we have a big gap in our day, can we buy the 8-hour package, and have you shoot four hours in the morning and then take a break for a couple of hours, then shoot the rest of the four hours?

Unfortunately, no, but great question! Photo time is consecutive. It's important to consider travel as well in this equation. For example, if your ceremony site is a couple hours away from your reception site, and you want most of your reception activities photographed, you'll need to purchase photo time that covers that from start to finish!

How long does it take to get our wedding images back? And how many images can we expect to see?

I'll share a sneak peek with you one week after your wedding, and the rest of your images will take between 8-12 weeks for me to carefully sift through and edit, depending on the time of year your wedding is. Over the summer, I am incredibly busy (as you might imagine) so things take longer than fall or winter weddings do.

Albums are made in the off-season, usually starting in November or December. If it's important to you to get your album prior to Christmas, please let me know!

Have you photographed a wedding at _________ venue before?

Maybe not, but not to worry! I've photographed nearly 100 weddings different backyards, churches, barns, fields, parks, and breweries, and people keep bringing me to new ones every year, which is amazing! I scope out venues I haven't shot at before prior to the wedding day, or I arrive early to rustle up good locations for different kinds of photographs.

We're so awkward in front of the camera and we're anxious about this, but we totally want nice photography...help!

See above re: my style. It's not about looking at the camera and smiling awkwardly! There will be a ton of grinning though. We'll hang out, I'll give you some direction to create natural moments where you can freely express who you are and how you connect to your person. We are going to focus on how you feel and how you want to express what you are feeling, which makes the best moments, and the best images!

Pro tip #1: Practice! Practice kissing, practice a dip, practice kissing while doing a dip! Hold hands and snuggle up while standing. This will all help you figure out BEFORE the camera is on you, how you like to physically be around each other and express yourselves as a connected couple. Just enjoy how this feels, and practice that enjoyment. Don't worry about how it looks!

Pro tip #2: Look at Pinterest for ideas, and get excited! Then DELETE your Pinterest boards. I am 100% for reals serious about this. DELETE THEM. The best images come from your excitement, your love, and your shared connection (that you've been practicing, right?!) in the moment. 

What do you mean by editing in your collections?

Photography is a two-part process: capturing and editing. Every image that you receive has been color corrected and had other adjustments to make it look its very best. I also create duplicate black and white images of some of your very best images. While couples portraits receive extra attention, extensive Photoshop work is not included in this. I will touch out zits and other obvious things, especially in portraits of the bride and groom, but I do not replace entire backgrounds, swap heads, alter bodies, slim arms, enhance breasts, or remove people! This is really important to me as a documentary photographer: YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL JUST AS YOU ARE and I'm there to celebrate that!

Wait, you don't give us EVERY single image you take at the wedding? Can I get the RAW images to edit myself?

I give you all the excellent, edited images I take at your wedding! The images you don't receive are the ones where someone's blinking, looking funny or either where my camera or I misjudged something. Trust me, it's nothing you want to see!

RAW images do not leave my studio under any circumstances. As I mentioned above, photography is a two-part process: image capture and image edit. Editing is an expressive part of photography, and is part of the art form. How I edit images is a huge and very enjoyable part of what I do! I am happy to discuss any edit questions, thoughts or concerns that you have.

How many images can we expect to see, if you don't give us every single one you take?

You can generally count on seeing 50 images per hour of shooting time. This number varies depending on how active your wedding is.

When do you eat on a wedding day? Do we need to supply you with a meal?

I eat when you eat! Except I eat way faster and with one eye on the party, in case an amazing spontaneous toast occurs, or something else I want to capture.  And yes, I request that I am supplied with a guest meal. Please, no vendor meals.

How many weddings have you photographed?

By now (early 2019), I have past 100 and lost count.

What happens if you get really REALLY sick on the day of our wedding?

Luckily, this has never happened to me (touch wood!). I make it my job to be healthy by minimizing stress, eating well, exercising, and getting enough sleep. However, should something happen, I belong to a group of talented wedding photographers who are all over Wisconsin, who are willing and able to step in at a moment's notice.

Are you an LGBTQ ally?

Yes. Always have been, always will be. I believe in love between people, not defined by heteronormativity. I also believe that black lives matter, and women should have their own bodily autonomy. I also support ethical non-monogamy and ethical polyamory practices, so if you are a throuple getting married, I'd love to chat!

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