What 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 kid photos. 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.
Why do you like shooting weddings?
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. I also love the promise of every single wedding day. There’s not much better for me than to make photos that excite my creativity and in the best possible way make you cry!
What are is your favorite thing to photograph during the wedding day?
The moments! I am a photojournalist at heart and by training and I am always looking for the moments. Your wedding day goes by in a blur and it’s what happens big (the kiss at the end of the ceremony, your first dance) and small (the look on your face as you walk down the aisle, your parents holding hands and holding back tears during your vows) that you will look back on. As the years go by the photographs become your memories on the day and I take my responsibility to capture it as a sacred duty. I love making portraits and working with light to make those portraits stunning and I enjoy documenting the details but to me, it’s the moments that matter most.
What is wedding photojournalism?
It means photographing weddings artfully and unobtrusively, telling your story with as many spontaneous photographs as possible without interfering 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.
Do 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.
Do you have a favorite venue for weddings?
I get asked this question a lot and I don’t really have one. There are several places around town where I am a preferred vendor and I often photograph multiple weddings in a given year. I shoot weddings in hotels, historic buildings, country inns and country clubs but really, more important than where I’m working is who I’m photographing. When you choose me as your wedding photographer, you place your trust in my experience and my talent to make the best photos possible of your special day. I like to think of myself as the calm within the swirl of events, I keep you on track, on time (as best I can) and I make it fun. You provide the love and I’ll take care of the light.
What is your schedule during a wedding?
For most weddings, I arrive between 2-3 hours before the ceremony for preparation photos. I usually have a second photographer with me so that one of us is with both of you, capturing the final preparations, dress and details and hanging out with family and the wedding party. If there’s a first look, I’ll find a quiet and pretty location for the “reveal.” This can make for some wonderfully emotional photos so I like to make sure it’s away from any distractions. From there, we’ll do all your couple photos, then the wedding party and family shots. The upside to this timeline is that once the ceremony is over everyone goes straight into cocktails and can party the night away! But not everyone wants to see each other before the ceremony. In that case, I’ll do as many of your individual photos as I can (anything that doesn’t involve the two of you in the same shot). That helps minimize the list of formal photos afterwards. After the ceremony, I’ll do the family and wedding party so they can join cocktails and then I’ll take the two of you for some alone time and your couple portraits.
How many weddings do you shoot in a weekend?
My commitment is to one couple per day. My packages all include at least eight hours of coverage which is usually enough to cover everything from the later stages of preparation until after all the important reception events. The day can be longer if extra hours are needed but no worries, I’m yours for the day! Shooting a wedding is a pretty strenuous day so I usually just one do one per weekend.
Do 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.
Do you only shoot big weddings?
I shoot weddings ranging in size from as many as 300 people down to just two people eloping. I find all sizes of ceremonies to be fascinating and lately I’ve been doing more intimate ceremonies and celebrations which can be a lot of fun. Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’re planning an elopement or an immediate family only event.
What 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 III cameras and a variety of fast lenses and flash equipment.
Do 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.
What 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.
How soon will I get to see my photos?
About two weeks after the wedding I will post a slideshow of your wedding images set to music. 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.
Do you do any retouching?
All the edited images you see online 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.
What other types of photography do you do?
In addition to wedding photography, I do a fair amount of portrait work, ranging from corporate shoots to families and children. Throughout the year I also photograph special events, parties and mitzvahs. The event photography is done in a similar style to my weddings. For the portraits I prefer to shoot on location and using natural light. I think true personality can shine through when my subjects are in a setting where they feel comfortable and are beautifully lit . I also am a regular freelancer for my former employer The Washington Post, mostly for their Food section. Rates for the portraits are on my website on the pricing page. Pricing for other events is available upon request.