What’s your photographic style?
In industry terms, I’m an environmental portrait photographer. I strive to capture my clients in the context of their creative vision. My style is vibrant, classic and playful. I’m also a sucker for the dramatic. Since I came out of studio and environmental portraiture, lighting is always very intentional for me, even for spur-of-the-moment shots. Of course, words about pictures fall short of, well, pictures. So please, see for yourself.
What’s your photography training background?
In this era of “instagram faux-tographers” this is a really important question. Anyone can pick up a DSLR or even a phone camera and make some pretty cool pictures. Talent and enthusiasm are abundant. But talent, and even photography degrees, don’t really translate into work experience. Knowing how to craft a session for a client’s specific vision, work with art directors and wedding planners, as well has having a reliable and sustainable business, are just as important as having a great photographic eye.
I’ve been behind a camera lens full time since 2010 in various capacities. I started as a staff photographer at a large financial services company in their internal marking firm. I’ve received training from world-renown photographers and local mentors, and still pursue continuing photography and business education through local and national associations and workshops. I have extensive experience in personal and commercial portraiture and events.
I love your work, but I hate getting my picture taken...
Me too! That’s why I work on the other side of the camera. But seriously, I take a relaxed approach to photography and spend as much time as necessary getting my clients comfortable in front of the lens. Bringing out people's confidence and personality is one of my talents and drives everything I do.
Do you carry business insurance?
Yes! You can’t work for an insurance company for 10 years and not be totally paranoid (even if all you did was take pictures and make pretty graphs). I carry equipment and liability insurance through State Farm. Some event venues and portrait locations require vendors to provide proof of liability insurance in advance of the event date.
What equipment do you shoot with?
I shoot with professional Nikon DSLRs and a variety of professional Nikkor and Sigma Art lenses. I greatly prefer prime lenses, but I use some zooms as well. I am also a lighting nerd, so I frequently use artificial lighting equipment and techniques to create different effects. In fact, many of my portfolio images that look like natural light were actually lit with strobes.
Do you edit all the photos you deliver?
Yes! All the images I deliver in digital download or print products are color corrected AND retouched. Generally, my wedding and senior portrait images are fully color corrected and retouched before you see them. For some headshot and branding assignments, I send color corrected proofs for client selection before retouching to speed up the process.
Do you take family photos?
Generally, I only book a few family portrait sessions per year for new clients. Once in a while, I offer mini sessions for holiday cards. You can follow me on Facebook and Instagram to be notified about these sessions. I take family portraits for past clients, but my schedule is generally filled with seniors, weddings and commercial clients. I’m always happy to sneak in a family photo or two during a senior session, and I insist on taking them during a wedding.
If you’re looking for amazing family portraits, I recommend my studio partner Jeannine at Block Studios (sometimes I’m even the one taking those photos).
When should I schedule my session?
Most of my senior sessions take place in August and September. However, the sky is the limit. June and October are the next most popular months. I love off-beat session ideas, so I’m happy to work with you to create a memorable experience, even if that means trudging through snow or standing in the rain. If you want a finished image to submit for a yearbook photo, you should plan your session for September or earlier. But I also offer one or two dates in September for students to take a yearbook headshot outside of their scheduled session.
How far in advance should we book you?
I generally start taking deposits for senior sessions in May, but you’re welcome to reserve your spot earlier. August and September are the busiest months for senior portraits, and October sometimes fills up as well. Earlier bookings will have first pick on dates. If you want to schedule your session with enough time to turn in a yearbook portrait, I recommend getting your deposit in by early August.
I take a limited commission of 25 seniors per year, so the further out you book, the more likely you’ll get a spot.
When should I schedule my viewing session?
Your viewing session will generally be at least two weeks after your portrait session. Viewing sessions are held in my St. Paul studio. For out-of-town clients I can accommodate a virtual session. You’ll get to choose a time for your viewing session after you have scheduled your portrait session and paid your deposit.
How many outfits should I bring?
I generally recommend one outfit for every 30-45 minutes of photography time. This can include full outfit changes or removing/adding layers like a scarf or jacket. You can read more about outfit suggestions and other getting ready tips here.
How many photos do I get with the final delivery?
Depending on the type of session you book, your proof gallery will have 25-45 finished images. Your product order will determine how many prints and/or digitals you will receive. Click here to learn more about my senior portrait process and products.
What if the weather sucks or we need to reschedule?
We can’t control the weather (wouldn’t that be fun), so I generally allow reschedules for weather conditions that make producing great portraits hard. This can include heavy rain, extreme temperatures or humidity, and sever weather warnings. I also accommodate rescheduling for emergencies and illness. No one wants to take senior portraits when they’re sick. Please try to give me as much advance notice as you can.
During our initial planning in the first week after booking, you can move your date and time as my schedule allows. The further in advance you book, the more flexibility we’ll have.
If you have specific weather conditions in mind for your session (sunset, overcast, fall colors, etc) please note that I don’t often reschedule for these reasons as my schedule gets pretty full.
Can I bring a friend?
Have your heard of my Buddy and VIP sessions? If not, check them out here. They are a great option for teaming up for your senior session with friends. However, if you just want one knockout photo with your bestie to be included in your session, you can bring them along. Please let me know in advance so I can plan for specific photo requests.
Can I bring my dog (or my family...I guess)?
Of course! I am always happy to sneak in a pet or family photo during a senior session.
What else should I bring?
I want to make your portrait session about you. That includes the things you’re passionate about. During session planning, we’ll talk about the types of photos you want and how to incorporate your personality and interests. This often determines the session location and props, such as instrument or sports equipment. Also if you have a horse or a sailboat…we should definitely do something with that.
Can I print my own images?
If you purchase digital images, which come with printing permission, you can absolutely print your own images. There’s an overwhelming sea of printing companies to choose from. I recommend Mpix.com for any printing you want to do yourself. Please be aware that most consumer options for canvas prints and large prints are…crap (there’s just no other way to put it).
However, if you’re looking for archival and museum quality products, I offer a curated line of prints, albums and wall displays that will blow your mind.
How do I share my photos with family and friends?
After your viewing session, regardless of what products you purchase, you’ll recieve a link to an online gallery which will be live until June 30 of your graduating year AND a custom mobile app that you can keep FOREVER.
You can share either of these with family and friends via email, text or social media. Anyone with access to your online gallery can purchase loose prints and some wall displays.
I want to book with you. What's next?
Are your wedding packages customizable?
Yes! I work directly with clients to recommend or create a photography package to meet their needs. Customization includes hours of coverage, second shooters and assistants, image usage rights, prints & products, locations (including studio) and even hair and makeup for engagement sessions.
How far in advance should we book you?
Clients normally book eight-twelve months in advance. May-October usually fill up first because it is above freezing in Minnesota. I also take a limited commission of 10 weddings per year, so once I’m full, I will no longer be taking bookings for that year. My booking often fill up by March for that calendar year.
How many photos do we get with the final delivery?
I usually deliver 50-70 photos per hour of coverage for weddings. I must confess, I’m not a fan of more is better when it comes to photos. I am very deliberate when it comes to choosing and executing my shots. Each photo is intentional, and together form the rhythm of a story. For weddings, especially, I am shooting with the album in mind, which helps me craft the narrative as events unfold. Also, who wants to wade through 1,000 wedding photos?
We're really excited to see our photos! When will they be ready?
And I’m excited to show them to you! Wedding photos usually take six-eight weeks from the wedding day to final file delivery. If you ordered an album with your package, the digital album proof is the first thing you will see and comes about five-six weeks after your wedding date. Albums take three to four weeks to be delivered after your final layout approval. During my busy season (August through October) turnaround can sometimes be a little longer. I’ll let you know before your event what you can expect for turnaround.
Do we need a second shooter?
I’ll always be straight-forward with you about the type of photography coverage that will bring you the most lasting value. Here are the guidelines I use when recommending a second shooter:
(1) you want “getting ready” coverage and the bride and groom are not within walking distance of each other,
(2) you have 10 or more people in your wedding party,
(3) you have more than 150 guests and/or
(4) your photography timeline is very tight.
Another thing to keep in mind is that a second shooter can get a different perspective and allow me to focus on the “main characters.” Layout of the ceremony is another thing to consider. If your shot list is more than I can accomplish in the space I’m able to move, I will recommend a second shooter. I am perfectly comfortable shooting a wedding without a second shooter or an assistant, but the extra set of eyes makes a big difference in your final cut of images.
Do you book destination weddings?
With a family and a diverse photography business that books out months in advance, I generally don’t have room in my schedule for destination bookings outside the midwest. However, if you book far enough in advance, we can make anything happen. For weddings that require travel, I do charge for mileage, airfare, and overnight accommodations.
Why is the engagement session such a big deal?
Engagement photos can be great for save-the-dates, wedding day displays and guest books, etc. However, I include them with EVERY wedding booking because I think it’s important for us to work together before your wedding day. This session will give you a feel for how I work and what I can do with cameras and lights. It also gives me perspective on how you interact as a couple, and what’s important to you visually. It’s also an opportunity for us to be a little more daring, as there’s no wedding dress to drag through the mud.
Why are albums such a big deal?
Imagine your wedding day goes off without a hitch (yeah right), the weather is perfect, and you get the most amazing photos (this happens even with bad weather and “hitches” in your day). Imagine getting those photos and…having them sit on a thumb rive for 50 years…
An album is the final step in the wedding photo process. It’s what I work toward from the beginning. Your wedding day is a story, and stories are meant to be read and seen. An album captures the day from start to finish. The album products I offer are some of the best in the world, with Fuji Matte paper that will outlive your children.
Do you offer payment plans?
Yes! I offer two payment options. The classic 50/50 means paying a 50% deposit upon booking and the remaining balance 30 days before the wedding. My 1/3 options lets you book for 1/3 of your total as a down payment, 1/3 30 days before the wedding, and the remainder due 30 days after the wedding.
If you aren’t sure you have room in the budget for your dream wedding coverage, but you definitely want to work with me, book a lower cost package, such as a basic hourly option. You are free to change your package type at any time before the wedding, provided I have enough time to make the appropriate accommodations.
Please note that I do not release any wedding day image files or galleries until your wedding balance is paid in full.
Can we have the raw image files?
Nope. I’m a full-time, full-service professional with over a decade of photography, retouching and design experience. From the beginning, I have the final image in mind. I also have a fine-tuned style and process that has taken me years to master and defines my brand and reputation. That’s what people hire me for. In my option, experienced professional photographers do not release raw, unedited images to clients.