1What is wedding photojournalism?
It means photographing weddings artfully and unobtrusively, telling a couple’s story with as many spontaneous photographs as possible without interferring in the day. My approach to wedding photography uses techniques I’ve learned from more than 20 years of newspaper photography: never being part of the story, but sensing and anticipating the moments that capture the essence of the day.
2What is your goal as a wedding photographer?
My job is to find those amazing photos you will want to hang on your wall 10 years later, when most of your wedding photos have been replaced with shots of your children. It could be the first dance or a natural portrait after the ceremony, or just a small moment when your head rests on your partner’s shoulder as you both take in the day. When you look at your wedding photos, whether it’s as a newlywed a few months after the big day or 20 years later, the images will instantly transport you back to that day, that feeling of the bliss that was your wedding day. If I can do all those things, I’ve reached my goal.
I find it incredibly fulfilling and special to be a part of the couple’s big day. Weddings are wonderfully linear stories. From the hair and makeup sessions through the hugs goodbye before departing in a vintage limo, a wedding story is happy and full of wonderful moments, big and small. Each day has a distinct narrative flow, whether it’s a backyard wedding for 40 guests or a country club blowout with more than 200 guests. For me, it’s always interesting to see the interaction between people–whether it’s the couple, a mother and daughter, or the newly minted in-laws. That’s the connection I’m looking for. A wedding for me is the chance to make great photographs that show the flavor of your special day, as well as the emotion and the joy that makes your wedding unique.
4Do you take posed portraits as well?
Yes. I have a shoot list that I provide to my couples prior to the wedding. This allows them to choose which groups they would like to include in the formal portraits. These portraits are not my primary focus, but most couples want at least a few group shots for posterity. I try to do these right before or right after the ceremony and as quickly as possible so everyone can get to the party! Included in the shoot list would be any special requests the couple has, like certain groups to get during the reception or a favorite relative who might not be in the immediate family. I do not shoot table shots (posed photos of guests at each table) but I try to get a wide variety of people dancing, talking and having fun throughout the evening.
5What is your schedule during a wedding?
Usually I arrive about two hours before the ceremony for preparation photos. I usually have one photographer with each of the couple, capture the final dress preparations and hanging out with family and bridal party members. What happens next depends on whether the couple wants to see each other before the ceremony. If they do, I’ll find a pretty and quiet location for them to see each other for the first time, without anyone else around. This “reveal” makes for some wonderful and emotional photos. Once that’s done, we’ll do all the formal photos so that there’s minimal time for posed photos needed after the ceremony. If the couple doesn’t want to see each other before the ceremony, I’ll do as many of the individual photos as I can to help minimize the formal photos afterwards. After ceremony coverage, I like to get the two of you off alone for what I call my spontaneous portraits. These are when I take you to a spot I’ve scouted earlier in the day or ahead of time and shoot with a longer lens, allowing you to interact naturally and revel in the just married glow. With these photos I look for amazing light and beautiful backdrops–it can be a cool archway, a garden awash in flowers or maybe the texture of the walls of a stone church. These are often some of my favorite photos–it’s the one time of day I can really control my environment while making fabulous photos! How many weddings do you shoot per weekend? My committment is to one couple per day. I’m theirs from the later stages of preparation until however long they want me to stay at the reception. My packages all include eight hours over coverage so my whole day belongs to them. I sometimes shoot another wedding the same weekend—particularly on holiday weekends.
6Do you work alone?
I used to only work on my own, and for some smaller events I still do, but I’ve recently amended my packages to include a second photographer for most weddings. I’ve found that there is a definite advantage to have a second pair of eyes particularly for the preparation, ceremony and very early part of the reception. It means a more complete package of coverage for my couples and that’s what I strive for. My second photographers are usually Washington Post photographers, skilled photojournalists who are excellent at capturing those special moments.
7What kind of equipment do you use? Film or digital?
I’ve been shooting weddings completely digitally since 2007. The images are captured in color and some are later changed to black and white. I shoot with Canon 5D Mark II cameras and a variety of fast lenses and flash equipment.
8Do you consider yourself a green photographer?
Digital photography is by nature a much greener alternative than film. Reusing memory cards rather than processing film with harsh chemicals is definitely a more eco-friendly way to go. I also use rechargeable batteries for my camera and flash equipment and all of my booking is done online rather than using paper contracts. The album company I use is a local small business. I recycle paper and plastics and use compact florescent lights throughout my home, which also doubles as my office space. Both of our family cars is a hybrid. Being a greener photographer (and person) is a ongoing priority for me and an area where there’s always room to do more.
9What happens if you can’t make it on my wedding day?
I’ve shot over 150 weddings over the last eight years and I haven’t missed one yet! I I fully intend for that streak to continue. Weddings are my priority and I will do everything possible to be there. My backup system is a group of wedding photographer in the area who would sub for me in an emergency. I also rely on my second shooters who are all well versed in how I photograph weddings and are prepared to step in if necessary.
10How soon will I get to see my photos?
About two weeks after the wedding I will post a slideshowof your wedding set to music on my website. This consists of some of my favorite images and those that I think tell your story best. In about a month or less from the wedding day all the photos will be available for viewing in your own web gallery. The amount of images will vary but generally it will be between 600 and 700 images. Friends and family can order prints directly from the website and you can use the gallery to choose the photos you want to include in your album.
11Do you do any retouching?
All the edited images will be toned and Photoshopped to make the best possible prints. I don’t dramatically alter photos but I can cover up small blemishes and take out exit signs when necessary.
12What other types of photography do you do?
I also do portrait work, mostly families and children, special events, parties and when it’s not wedding season, I do the occasional Bar Mitzvah. My other work is done in a similar style to my weddings. I prefer to shoot on location and using natural light. I think the best portraits are done when the subjects are in a setting where they feel comfortable . Rates for the portraits are on my website on the pricing page. Pricing for other events is available upon request.