The Artsy Details
How would you describe your photography style?
My photography is very emotional, very real and very artistic-documentary. I capture memories and special moments, fleeting moments, moments that my clients might not have even noticed in the whirlwind of the wedding day. I create images that allow them — and their families — to look back on their wedding and remember how they were feeling in a particular moment. And I create beautiful portraits of my clients that bring together real emotion and artistic composition.
That sounds lovely but do you also shoot posed family photos on the wedding day?
Of course. I’m very mindful of the fact that weddings are one of the only occasions in life when entire families come together – and your wedding day very well might be the only time when your and your fiancé’s family and friends are in the same room together. So I make sure that you have beautiful photos of those family groups that are important to you. I just don’t think it should take an hour. And I have heard some stories to that effect!
What do you like about wedding photography?
To me, weddings are incredibly joyful. I love the nervous anticipation in the room as my clients finish up getting ready. I love the little glances they trade as they exchange vows. I absolutely love personalized vows, touching toasts and genuine laughter. I adore working with clients who treasure photos of all of those beautiful moments without concern for whether every hair is perfectly in place in every photo or their hands are folded just so in their portraits.
Do you work with an assistant or a second shooter?
Yes, I always work with an assistant. He shoots during the ceremony when I believe it’s best to have two vantage points covered. At other points in the day, he helps me organize the formal family photos so that we get through them as efficiently and painlessly as possible. Later in the evening, he helps with off-camera lighting for the reception. He also has, on occasion, helped our clients light candles in a pinch and helpfully notices important things like a cake that is slowly sliding off its stand. (True story!)
I love your work. We’re a perfect fit. I want you to photograph my wedding. What happens now?
If you’d like to move forward with a booking, we’ll put together an agreement. You sign it. I sign it. You send me a check for the nonrefundable retainer fee. And we’re booked! I’ll then turn away everyone else who’s interested in your wedding day. Your balance is due a month before the wedding.
How many photos do you shoot? How many do I get?
I tend to shoot a lot. I almost always shoot three or four photos in succession so that if something really wonderful is happening, but someone happens to blink or walk in front of my camera, I have images on either side of that photo to deliver to my clients. Depending on how much time is spent shooting versus travelling between locations, I typically shoot 3,000 to 4,000 images at a wedding. Getting rid of all the duplicates, the closed eyes, the unintentionally funny faces and other undesirable shots, the number of photos that I deliver to my clients usually comes to somewhere between 500 and 800 images.
Do you edit those photos?
Yes, each of the photos in the final collection is individually edited, getting rid of any unwanted color cast, tweaking exposures, doing a little retouching and converting some into black and white. You’re not getting unfinished “proofs.” Each of the images that I deliver is fully edited, finished and ready for printing.
That sounds like a lot of work. How long does that take? In other words, when do we get to see our photos?
There is a lot of work involved after the wedding. I typically deliver the full collection of photos within six to eight weeks of the wedding. I also prepare blog posts and Facebook galleries for many of my clients as well.
Speaking of printing, will we get a disc of images? And can we print them ourselves?
Yes, all of my wedding photography collections include the edited digital files – the digital equivalent of film negatives – on a choice of DVD disc, USB thumbdrive or digital download from my web site as well as a release that grants personal usage rights for you to make prints and enlargements for yourselves and as gifts for your friends and family. The digital files do not contain watermarks or logos. And you don’t need to wait a year for them – you get them as soon as they’re edited and ready for you.
What if we -- or our relatives -- want to order prints from you?
I work with a marvelous custom photo lab that produces gorgeous archival-quality prints, enlargements, canvas gallery wraps and other products. You are more than welcome to order through me if it’s easier for you or if you want something special for a gift.
Do you shoot engagement sessions? Where are your favorite locations to shoot?
I do. For weddings, we can’t always pick the time of day when we’ll shoot portraits. So on occasions — like engagement sessions — when we get to choose the time of day for photography, I like to do so when we have the best chance for great light. That’s just after sunrise for the morning people out there and about 90 minutes before sunset for the non-early risers. I really enjoy shooting in locations that mean something to my clients – the park where you regularly walk your dog, the garden you visited every spring for a special date, the bar where you first met, the waterfront neighborhood where you became engaged, the beautiful vistas and monuments that inspire you. I’m also always happy to help with suggestions and information about any permits that might be required at your desired location.
What about albums? Do you offer those?
Yes. I think it’s really important to live with our most favorite and important photos. One of the only things that I don’t love about digital photography is that it seems to have created an entire generation of people who keep their photos on their phones, on their computers and on discs tucked away in their desk drawers. I love having photos on my phone, too. (I often have about 800 of my current favorites of my friends and family!) But your wedding album is your first family heirloom for your new little family. I offer custom flushmount and coffee table book albums and am more than happy to show you samples.
What’s the most important thing about hiring a wedding photographer?
I think you not only need to love the work of your wedding photographer but you also need to feel comfortable with her or him. You’ll be spending a lot of time together on the wedding day. Also, be sure to look at a few full weddings from any photographers that you’re considering so that you have a good sense of their consistency and the quality of work throughout the day in all kinds of lighting scenarios.
Do you have any advice for your clients for their wedding day?
I do. But I’d rather you book me first before I share all my secret tricks!
The Business Side of Things
What are your rates?
My wedding photography collections start at $4,450. Most clients invest about $6,000. Portrait sessions start at $350. Please feel free to call or e-mail me for specific information on my photography collections.
What type of gear do you shoot with?
I have been a Nikon girl since I held my very first film camera – an old Nikon FA that eventually met its demise in a glacial stream in Alberta, Canada. For work, I now shoot with top-of-the-line professional Nikon digital cameras, lenses and flashes.
Do you have back-up gear?
Do you have insurance?
But of course. All of my gear is insured and I carry business insurance and a $2 million liability policy. I am happy to provide proof of that insurance if your wedding venue requires it.
Do you pay taxes?
Oh, do I ever!
How long have you been in business?
After attending photography school in 2005, I started my business in 2006 and began photographing weddings right away – first as a second shooter and then as an associate photographer for another studio while also booking my own clients. I have been working full-time as a photographer since 2008 and have photographed more than 200 weddings, primarily across Maryland, Washington DC and Northern Virginia but also in Cape Cod, Delaware, Florida, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Pennsylvania.
What did you do before that?
With a degree in print journalism, my first career was as a writer and reporter for newspapers, primarily covering crime and courts. I was honored to tell many important and interesting stories over the course of a decade of work in Minnesota and Maryland. But as a pretty upbeat and – let’s be honest – somewhat sappy person, I find that my personality is very well suited to my current job of photographing people on one of the happiest and most important days of their lives.
Are you a member of any photography groups? And has your work been published?
My work has been published on the cover of Baltimore Bride and in the pages of Washingtonian Bride & Groom, The Knot and Baltimore magazines, The New York Times weddings section and The Baltimore Sun. My photographs have also appeared on TheKnot.com, the United With Love weddings blog and Charm City Wed. I am an award-winning member of the prestigious Wedding Photojournalist Association. I also belong to Wedding & Portrait Photographers International and the National Association for Catering and Events.
You’ve talked a lot about weddings but I’m already married. Do you photograph other things, too?
Why yes, I do! One of the really wonderful aspects of my job is that my wedding clients often stay in touch – Facebook is great for this! – and then call when they’re pregnant, have babies or need family photos. I similarly hear from the friends and relatives of my wedding clients for portraits. I also shoot the occasional bat/bar mitzvah, senior portrait, non-wedding event and corporate headshot.
What is your approach to portrait photography?
I want to shoot portraits that do for my clients what photos do for me: They stop time. They cut through the stress and the busyness of life and focus our attention on the joy. They capture fleeting stages of a child’s life, the love and interactions among members of a family that is complete, the simultaneous maturity and childishness of a young person on the cusp of adulthood as they leave for college. I want my clients to hang those photos on their walls, to regularly flip through an album of them and to live with the images rather than keep them stashed away on a computer harddrive or a disc in a desk drawer. I can’t even count the number of times that I’ve been stressed or exhausted or overwhelmed with work when I catch a glimpse of a photo of my girls that allows me to just take a moment and appreciate all the joy in my life.
What do you do when you’re not working?
My husband and I have two beautiful, funny and well-photographed little girls. We enjoy making pancakes and digging in the garden and going to the farmer’s market and playing together. I love a good cocktail but also try to drink my fair share of green smoothies. I’m crazy about my CrossFit box. I like to knit – although I go so long between projects that I have to relearn the basic stitches every time I pick up my knitting needles. I don’t get to my book club or to hot yoga quite as often as I’d like. And I can’t imagine life without my espresso machine, a good snowstorm each winter, a trip to the beach and to my husband’s native Montana every summer, and the occasional malted ice cream CMP sundae from Woodberry Kitchen.