First off, some gentle advice: Don’t get wrapped up in the things that won’t matter in 10, 20, or 50 years. Make the day about you and the one you love, not about trendy details or clever ideas. The more personal it is, the more people will feel they are being let in on your love story. Weather and climate permitting, consider an outdoor ceremony and/or reception. Natural light is always the most beautiful. Also, educate yourself about the reality of a wedding budget and don’t cut corners on the photography front, because after all is said and done, your images will be one of the only tangible things that you have to remember the day!
What is your travel fee?
A travel fee of 55¢/mi. will be applied to the quote if your venue or shoot location is more than a 30 mile round trip from our home base in Fullerton (North Orange County). For weddings, this fee covers both the venue visit and wedding day travel (you don’t pay extra even though we visit twice!). If a wedding venue is outside the 50 mile radius for a venue visit, we will arrive one hour early on the wedding day in lieu of the venue visit.
Are you available to photograph something other than an engagement/wedding?
Yes! I do "We're Dating" Sessions, Styled Shoots, Anniversary Sessions, Maternity Sessions, Family Portraits, Senior Portraits and headshots. Marisa is also available for other non-wedding graphic design projects.
Do you offer any kind of discounts?
Yes! See here for our current promotions! Two discounts we always offer are the Dream Venue Discount (see details here) and the Wedding Planner Discount. So if you have a licensed, insured, independent (NOT working for your venue) wedding planner or coordinator hired for your wedding day, we offer a $100 discount on your wedding photography. Your planner’s name, company name, and contact info must be provided and their hired status verified before the discount is applied. Usually that means that the discount will be applied to the final payment rather than the retainer fee. However, if we verify eligibility before your contract is signed, then $50 will be taken off from the retainer and $50 off the final payment. Other than the occasional giveaway or bridal show promotion, our prices are already so affordable we can't afford to offer too much else! Below is Jessica Foster of Jessica Foster Planning, at Hangar 21 hard at work!
What equipment do you use?
Like most professional photographers, we shoot with several different camera bodies and a whole array of lenses. All of our digital cameras are made by Sony. Why do we use Sony and not Canon or Nikon? A few reasons: the first "grown-up" camera I (Marisa) ever used was a Sony that belonged to my parents. They bought the camera because the company my dad worked for at the time was just going to throw away $1,000’s worth of Minolta lenses. Sony bought Minolta's DSLR business and continued using the lens mount, so the lenses still fit Sony cameras. This meant that I could learn to use my camera with different lenses instead of being limited to the basic zoom lenses that come with most cameras. Ever since then, I’ve used Sony since I became familiar with their menu system and liked the way their cameras handled. An additional plus is that because the brand is less well-known, Sony cameras are more affordable, allowing me to pass the savings on to my clients! Sony makes many of the sensors inside the most popular Nikon and Olympus cameras, as well as in the iPhone and many other cameras of all shapes and sizes. We like Sony for their affordability and the way they are always pushing the technological envelope. Ultimately, the brand of camera you use doesn’t really matter, as long as it allows you to produce great photographs. It is the images and the art you create that matters!
What do we need to do to book you?
Well, first off, make sure we are available! Next, we would have a consultation in person (or over Skype) to make sure we are all on the same page about everything! We have a policy that we will not work with anyone we have not met "in person" first. It is important to make sure you are comfortable with us and us with you (we are pretty chill though, promise!). After the meeting, the last step for any session or wedding is to sign the contract. For weddings only there is a non-refundable retainer that must also be paid before everything is confirmed. Once contracts are signed and deposits made (if necessary) you are officially booked!
What is your deposit policy?
Half of the total amount is due at contract signing and the remainder is due a month before the wedding. There are no deposits for engagement or other photography sessions, just a signed contract is required and payment is due on or before the day of the session.
How far in advance do I need to book with you?
As soon as possible, to avoid conflicts! A completed and signed contract is required to complete your booking and ensure our availability.
How would you describe your photographic style?
We are illustrative photographers which means we combine a photo-journalistic and traditional approach. This combines capturing natural candid moments as they happen with timeless posed shots. Our goal is to tell a natural story through our photos from the details that are easy to forget to the moments you'll never get back. We are especially drawn to bold colors, bright light, and clean lines. Our images are edited to be bright, natural, clean and crisp, with colors as vibrant and true as they are in life.
Do you do video?
Nope! But I can recommend some GREAT videographers! See our recommendations here, these are all documentary style videographers. In our years of experience we have seen that there are two main styles of wedding videography: documentary and cinematic. Documentary style videographers will follow you and us around on your day without being too obstructive, and should blend into the background while getting their shots. They will allow us to lead direction and keep us on task while also capturing those moments that are conveyed better through video than photo! Cinematic photographers will want to take time to direct and set up shots, they will use drones and other special effects to get more complex and “movie-like” shots. Their work is often epic in scale but that comes with a price and a cost: they charge higher rates and we will need to set aside even more time into your timeline away from your guests for all of us to take turns getting the shots we need.
All of that to say, we work best with documentary, low key, background style videographers and find that most couples who work with us are looking for that style ;) Here is Amante Weddings, hard at work!
Can you Photoshop that?
Sure, most of the time! Honestly, we may be able to use Photoshop to fix something here or there, but we believe that you should only use Photoshop to enhance a photo (if at all), not to change its composition. Retouching takes time – a lot of time, and you should never rely on Photoshop to fix things that aren’t right for you. If you don’t like your hair, exit signs in your venue, trash cans everywhere or your great aunt’s glasses – the time to address these things is before your wedding. These things cannot be our responsibility to fix later.
Can we get a discount if we edit the pictures ourselves?
I say this with love, but that's a terrible idea! You are paying us for our vision! Why would you want an unfinished product? You would be taking away the value of the artist you are hiring by leaving the job only half-done.
Do you have any vendor recommendations?
Yes! Check out this page on our blog :)
Do you have any special policies or requirements?
Yes! It relates to backyard weddings. We love backyard weddings! They are a great way to keep it simple! We do have one requirement, though: if we are going to photograph a backyard wedding, our policy is that our clients must hire a coordinator/planner. The main reason is that it is impossible to host an event at your house while properly focusing on what really matters on that day: getting married and being the stars of the show! There are many things that go into planning and hosting a large event like a wedding. Things will change, go wrong, and need extra assistance/expertise, and you will not want to be putting out those fires yourself! Our past experiences have shown that if there is no coordinator present, we end up having to take on this role in addition to photographing your big day. This ultimately takes away time from our primary job: taking amazing photos! Additionally, we can’t be in multiple places at once, so if something important needs to be set up, torn down or taken care of while we are taking photos, you want to make sure you are in capable hands with a professional planner/coordinator who can take care of all these details. That way, we can focus on our job, and you can focus on enjoying your wedding!
Why should we do an engagement shoot?
Several reasons! Engagement photos capture memories from a special time in your lives together. An engagement shoot allows us to get to know each other better and gives you an opportunity to get used to what it will be like to have your pictures taken at your wedding. You will also get to see what photos/poses you like the best. Photo sessions are awkward for many people, and it often just takes some time in front of the camera to adjust to having your picture taken with your future spouse :)
What do I wear for an engagement shoot?
See our blog post here!
Where are good locations for an engagement shoot?
See our suggestions here! But don’t let that limit you! Feel free to come up with your own ideas or suggestions of locations you might want to use. If you are considering a beach shoot, please read our blog post about beach lighting and make sure you love the style of beach photos!
How many pictures will I get?
The number of photos varies, but a typical session results in 200-400 images. We also provide about half of the photos in both black and white and color!
Can't afford a full engagement shoot? Feel free to use a mini session for a mini engagement shoot! Details here.
What do you provide?
See my list of what I provide with our pricing layout here.
How long have you been photographing weddings?
We started this business in April 2011, but combined we have over 15 years of photography experience. Marisa has a bachelors degree in Fine Art and Tim has a bachelors degree in Business. We both started photography when we were young, when family members got us started :-)
What do you wear to weddings?
We wear business casual attire. We dress just like we are guests at the wedding, but usually wearing pants. We will never wear blue jeans, but we hardly ever wear all black because that’s a bit boring. We like color too much!
How many pictures will I get?
Depends on the length of the wedding! We also provide about 80% of the photos in both black and white and color.
The general rule for most wedding photographers who provide you with all edited images (like we do!) is that they provide 100-150 photos per hour. We tend to average a tad more than that though :) Below are some typical ranges of how many edited photos you can expect.
Standard Wedding: 1200-2000
Small Wedding: 800-1200
Do you offer prints?
No, because it is easier and cheaper for you to obtain prints yourself. We are all about saving you money! Most people who offer prints charge way over what it physically costs them to print because you are also paying for their time and preparation of the images for printing. Our photos print beautifully, and we can show you plenty of examples in our photo books!
Do you offer albums?
Yes! I would love to design a wedding album of your pictures. My standard design fee for my time designing your album is $150. I get my albums printed through Blurb.com or Artifact Uprising, so reference their site for pricing/book options.
Do you have liability insurance?
Yes! We can provide a certificate of insurance if your venue requires one for your event.
Do you visit the wedding/reception site beforehand?
If we have never shot at a location before we definitely prefer to visit! We like to go with the bride and groom if they are available, just so we can talk about wedding plans while we are there. If we don’t have time to visit the site beforehand, or it is too far away to make a trip, we will arrive about an hour early the day of the wedding at no extra charge, just to get the lay of the land and figure out where the best picture spots are.
Can I give you a list of specific shots I like?
Yes, and if you have any shots you really want us to take, this is the best way to ensure we don’t miss things! A shot list is highly recommended. We also don't want you to keep ANY secrets from us about your day. They can be surprises for your guests, family or soon-to-be spouse, but not from us. Why? Because if we don't know about it, we might miss capturing it, no matter how small or large it might be. :) It does state in our contract that we make no guarantees we can absolutely get every shot you ask for. We will strive to get as many pictures as we can for you! Does that mean we will capture everything you ask for on your list? Probably, yes! We will always make every possible effort to take requested photos.
Do you require a meal at the wedding?
Yes! It is much easier to continue taking great pictures if we have had something to eat! We ask to eat before or at the same time as your guests so that we can take photographs of the reception after the meal is complete. This isn’t to be snobby! For photographers, we are in front of the bride/groom/guests from start to finish – typically between 8-10 hours. We do not take breaks, and often don’t even get a spare minute to use the restroom! Once the dinner service starts, it is our only opportunity to sit down for a moment and have a hot meal. Here’s where things sometimes get tricky. Sometimes we are viewed as “help” – we’re like second class citizens to some catering and venue managers, and are often told we can’t eat, have been forgotten about, or that we have to eat once everyone else is finished. First of all, this is silly. We often sit in a completely separate room from the guests and no one would know if we were eating yet or not. If there isn’t enough staff to have someone pop in with some plates, then they can set them down before dinner starts (I promise we won’t mind if they’re already there waiting for us, even if they get a little cold!). If it’s a buffet, we quietly jump in after the bridal party and family goes through, grab our food and make our way out of the room. By eating early during dinner service, it makes us available to you as soon as you’re done eating. If we don’t get food until after the last person is served, we have JUST gotten food when you’re ready to start the party. Not good, unless you don’t want photos of some of your reception events!
Should I have an "unplugged ceremony?"
Please consider these points:
1. Guests with phones, iPads and cameras get in our way. They often have no idea how to stay out of our way. They can and do ruin many of our shots. You're paying us to take the best photos possible, but we cannot do our best work with people getting in our way.
2. These same guests will get in YOUR way. You will miss moments of your own wedding day because there'll be an iPad in the way. You will miss seeing your partner's face as you try to look down the aisle.
3. The guests' photos are usually crap. I'm so sorry, but it is true. You can't take great photos with your camera phone by leaning into the aisle of a dark church to photograph a moving subject. Even lots of professionals have trouble with this, especially if the subject is moving quickly. A guest with their phone doesn’t stand a chance!
In your invites, you can tell everyone you're having an unplugged ceremony: no phones or cameras, please, or you can write it on a chalkboard which guests will see as they arrive on the day and finally also tell your celebrant / minister / priest to tell the guests at the start of the ceremony.
What's the best time for a ceremony?
Your ceremony time dictates the rest of the photography timing for the day. If you want photos of you and your spouse while the sun is still up, and don’t want to do a first look, then your ceremony should start at least 90 minutes before sunset (for typical 30 minute wedding ceremonies and with no travel time between ceremony and where you want your photos to be taken). Once the light is gone, it’s gone – so pay close attention to sunset time on your actual wedding day (don’t forget about Daylight Savings!). Golden Hour is the most highly requested time to shoot (think sunset photos), and this is a very short span of time directly before sunset, assuming it’s not overcast or raining. Ask us to tentatively map out a schedule for your day so it can start some of the conversations about lighting, timing, first look and expectations for your final photos that will allow us to make the most of this once in a lifetime opportunity!
Should we do a first look?
We've done weddings with first looks and without, and we can tell you that not only is the first look so much better for timeline purposes, it is also a really magical and beautiful moment. The aisle experience is really intense - everyone's watching you, there's music playing, you have to walk a certain way, everyone's phones are out taking pictures and videos, and nerves are high... most brides and grooms get a "deer in the headlights" look and don't necessarily show a lot of emotion. I think that's just because of the pressure of having an intimate moment in front of all those people. That said, when it's just the two of you (well... and your photographers), it's a lot easier to have a natural reaction and feel the emotion of the moment. Plus, once the pressure is off, that "walking down the aisle" moment becomes much less pressure and you tend to get a more genuine emotional reaction there too! My clients who didn't do a first look often say "I wish we had done one" or "Now I understand why you do a first look! I wish I had known!" I've never had a client do a first look and regret it! And as a side note, I just read a horror story from a fellow photographer who was hardly able to get any shots of the bride and groom together because the schedule fell apart and they ended up having just a few minutes to cram in portraits after the ceremony. Everything became chaotic and rushed and in the end the bride said she wished she had done the first look. Obviously you have to do what is right to you, but I always recommend the first look. You can have both a first look and a beautiful aisle moment, they aren't mutually exclusive!
Why should we do a "day after session" or "anniversary session"?
Oftentimes the wedding day is rushed and time is packed and we don't have as much time to take as many pictures as we do at an engagement session. So at a "day after session" we can take more risks with the pictures we take and really spend our time taking a variety of fun and interesting photos that we might not have had time for on the wedding day. In addition, we will be able to use a different location from the wedding venue so you will have some variety in the setting of your bride and groom portraits. Finally, anniversary sessions are a great way to have more pictures with just you and your spouse and a great way to look back on the different years in your marriage! :)
Don't see the answer to your questions? Send me an email!