What makes your photography different?
Two decades of experience + a unique style. Widely recognized as being one of the top professional photographers in the country across portraits, wildlife, weddings, and fashion.
My experience as a photographer capturing imagery in over 40+ countries – ranging from wildlife and landscapes to the heads of state has created a style over the years that is truly my own. Please take a moment to look at some of my other work.
I am the only Bay Area photographer with background as a professional model. I was a Ford model for a decade before starting photography. I value bringing a fashionable approach to wedding photography. However, you don’t have to know anything about modeling or even be fashionable to photograph well! A large portion of a photographer’s job is helping you pose in a way that is both flattering, yet natural.
I’m a well rounded photographer. Although weddings are my favorite to shoot, I have spent two decades photographing fashion, corporate, wildlife, culture, and landscape. Roughly three months of my year is out of the country shooting on assignment. My travel section shows a small handful of I’ve taken on trips. From the friendly whales in Baja, the volcanoes of East Africa, remote villages in Myanmar, people of the Congo, to the North face of Mt Everest… I have some great stories (and photos to accompany!).
I bring a stylist to every engagement and wedding. My wife accompanies me to every wedding and she anticipates needs in a heartbeat. Between weddings, and other professional shoots, she’s (patiently) been with me through over 5000 hours of shooting. She understands the intricacies of photography more than most photographers, and plays whatever part is needed. She is the stylist for every shoot – touching up hair and make-up throughout the day and being sure everyone always looks picture-ready, even if the cameras aren’t on.
I always bring a second shooter. I am always the lead photographer, however I’m honored to have a very talented cadre of second photographers and assistants.
I don’t mark up prints or albums. Most photographers mark up prints and albums by 700-800%. I feel strongly that a client is hiring me for my shooting talent, not my ability to place a print order. All prints are just done at cost – no markup- through my lab. Clients are welcome to use my lab for personal enlargements as well.
This isn’t a weekend job/hobby for me. In 20 years, I’ve seen a lot of photographers come and go – I can count maybe 2-3 that are still around as professional photographers. Meaning… I’ll still be here in 10 years if you’ve lost all of your images, need reprints, or newborn photos. 🙂
What’s your style?
I had one client describe my photos as “National Geographic” meets “Harper’s Bazaar.” I think that sums it up perfectly! I love combining together dramatic, emotional moments, yet still capturing the best angle on a person.
We’ve never been professionally photographed. What should we expect?
Being photographed professionally is exciting, but initially can be a bit daunting. It’s quite common for people to be a bit nervous.
I work very closely with my clients with subtle guidance to make them feel comfortable and themselves, while also bringing out their best look.
After a few minutes into shooting, most couples really start to love being in front of the camera, even those that are the most camera shy.
Who are the people on your website? Models or real people?
On the wedding pages, there are no models and all events are real weddings. The only professional models on the site are on the fashion pages, although some of the lions in Botswana pose so perfectly that they may qualify as professionals.
There is a new trend of photographers shooting “styled” weddings, staged with models and even extras as guests. I do understand some photographers do this to build a nice looking wedding portfolio at well known places, but I find it to be misleading.
When shooting, I am keen on finding a person’s most flattering angles and using the best light and lenses for particular features. Some individuals photograph better in a certain light or with certain angles or lenses, and I work specifically to use that light and angle on a person throughout the day.
As a result, I bring out the individual’s best in their photos. The comment I hear most often from clients is “I had no idea I looked that good.”
Why the huge range with photography pricing?
Photography prices are directly correlated with talent, style and experience of the photographer. Starting photographers are still building their experience and their price typically reflect that.
Quite often, it is difficult for starting photographers to anticipate and capture “moments” – it’s a skill that combines the ability to anticipate and visually compose, while shooting. This is why we encourage couples to review entire weddings from their potential photographers, and not base it off of the very selected subset in their portfolio.
However, with that in mind, photographers that are booked more often rely less on every single wedding for income, and as a result, our operating expenses per wedding are less and often we can sometimes be flexible with a couple’s budget, depending on the time of year.
What you spend on photography should depend on your priorities. Most couples budget 10-15% on photography.
Have you been hired to photograph anyone famous?
I’ve been honored over the years to be trusted with capturing images of many well known clients. I’m honored to have been hired to photograph Manchester United, Hillary Clinton, Diane Von Furstenberg, two prime ministers, a well known queen, multiple heads of state, as well as professional athletes, celebrities, and CEOs of Fortune 100 companies. Every face has a different story and presents it’s own challenges to photograph, no matter who you are.
How do you compare to others on safeguarding images?
I’ve heard it more times than I can count from other photographers (and some very experienced ones): “my card failed and I lost an entire hour of images.”
When working with high profile clients in critical situations, I can not afford to take the slightest risk of losing one single image, and over the years, it has become second nature to use the same workflow on every shoot. The reason we don’t lose imagery is because of this meticulous workflow. I continually rotate and shoot with three cameras on me. All situations are covered with multiple images on multiple cards and cameras.
I also bring additional back-up lenses and bodies. We only work with the absolute best professional grade camera gear – please feel free to review my gear list below.
Critical photography is also captured by second shooters.
We physically back up images 2x during each event and again when arriving at the studio in two other separate locations. At any given time, your photos are in no less than 4 different physical locations and backed-up via 2 cloud services as well. This redundancy lets everyone sleep well!
Part time and new photographers usually aren’t aware of the nuances that go into image preservation.
I’m happy to chat more about my workflow if you’re interested!
Do you limit time? Why are other photographer’s packages based on hours?
With the exception of small, intimate ceremonies, we don’t limit time on shoots – engagements, weddings, corporate, family shoots, anything. Clients are more relaxed when they know that they don’t need to watch the clock. When I accept a shoot, I walk away knowing that I was able to capture every possible image for a client.
I’m very, very used to shooting long hours under intense pressure. I believe that some photographers put time limits on packages because long shooting days can be overwhelming for some.
Once during a shoot in Africa, there were 5 weeks straight of 15+ hour shooting days. My wife didn’t care for that stretch too much, though!
How much do you charge?
Because every couples’ needs are different, detailed pricing and date availability are provided upon request. Generally, my shooting fee for weddings ranges from $4,500-$12,000, with most averaging $6500-$7500. If you are planning a weekday, off-season, short ceremony, or if it’s approaching fast, we’ll see what we can do. I’m a nice, reasonable guy, so feel free and contact me and tell me about your event. Please fill out the contact form or email directly and we’ll be in touch with the specifics.
There are no other costs on top of the shooting fee. I provide all high-resolution images, retouched. Albums and prints are just done at cost – there is never any markup on top of the lab costs (often photographers mark up albums and prints as high as 10x).
Can we meet you?
Absolutely – and I encourage it. It’s extremely important for you to feel fully confident with your photography decision.
The photographer is someone that is around you for the entire day… it’s more relaxing when you trust and enjoy the company of your photographer.
I meet with local clients in my studio where you’re welcome to see hundreds of weddings from beginning to end.
I’m also into photography/a professional photographer. What type of gear do you use and can you teach me some techniques?
I solely use Canon professional bodies and lenses. All of my digital bodies are 5DMarkIIIs.
I also carry medium-format Contax cameras as well, which gives a drastically different feel to portraits. Some photographers spend a lot of time trying to replicate the look and feel of these pricey medium format cameras in post-production with varied success.
I use Canon 600 series radio transmitter flash units (they are great for different lighting effects) as well as a multitude of unique flashes and lights. I work with soft boxes and umbrellas, although rarely needed at weddings.
I have many lenses ranging from 17-35mm wide angles, 24-80mm, 70-200mm, 15-30mm, a macro lens and 400mm (2.8). I’ve yet to pull out the 400mm for a wedding (mostly used for wildlife)… I am excited for the day when it’s needed at a wedding. All lenses are premium, professional grade lenses. It is incredibly important for a photographer to have multiple lenses. Many photographers work with only 2 lenses, which drastically limits the type of imagery they can provide.
Many of my clients are photography enthusiasts or professional photographers. It’s fun for me to teach clients little tricks along the way so they can take better pictures themselves.
What is your philosophy on retouching?
I do all of my own re-touching and am meticulous in post-processing and refining images. My philosophy is that retouching should be done so the image still looks like you – just the best version of you.
My belief is that you should never tell a photo has been retouched. With that said, taking away distractions – slightly tucking in stomachs, double chins, removing dark circles, blemishes, and smoothing skin can make a tremendous impact on an image.
I am happy to accommodate a client’s individual preference for the amount of retouching. Some clients prefer heavier retouched photos, others prefer a bit more natural. I’ve had clients that want me to completely change their body, and while I’m happy to handle a request like this for a handful of photos just for fun, I sadly can’t accommodate these requests for an entire wedding.