Am I available on a specific date?

I do not publicly display days that I am booked/available, so the only way to find out is to ask. For example I wasn’t booked for one of the most popular wedding dates in the last twenty years “7/7/07”, however I had almost 20 requests for “6/7/08” alone after I was booked. For date requests and other information email me through the Connect page, or directly at  vincent [dot] johnson [at] othervertical [dot] com .

Do you shoot “photojournalistic” style

“Photojournalistic Style” seems to be the “it” word, these days in the wedding photography world. The fact is; “Photojournalism” is a profession, not a photographic style. My style is my style and my job as the photographer at your wedding is to document that moment in your life. Portfolios are a great way of figuring out a photographers style. I always suggest that not only do you check out my wedding portfolio, but also my other work and the non-wedding work of any other photographer you might be looking at. That’s where you’ll find their style.
For more on my take on “Photojournalistic” wedding photography & other things related to wedding photography, check out my Blog 

How many images do you normally take?

For an average 8 hour wedding I shoot between 1,500 & 2,000 images.

What should I included in my initial contact with you to get a wedding photography quote?

The majority of my wedding photography quotes are customized to the couple, so it’s very rare that I give an exact quote after an initial email. The starting rate for a weekend wedding (Fri-Sun) is $1,700. Info to include; date, city, expected photography time start to finish, any pre-or-post portraits sessions you want, albums/prints products you’re interested in, & whether you want a 2nd photographer, or video.

Do I have to pay for everything before the wedding?

No. A retainer equal to 50% of your package, is due in 2 months from the signing of the contract, never more than $1,000. The final amount due, must be paid in full on, or before the wedding day. Album payments (except prepaid discounts) are due when the order is placed.

Why are you less expensive than other photographers & studios?

The answer is kind of simple, I don’t just photograph weddings. I’m busy year round doing commercial photography & photojournalism and not just working during peak wedding season. Being a professional photographer for over 20 years, means many of my clients find me by word of mouth. On top of that most of my photographic work is done on location, or in my in-home studio. Add it all up and you’re paying for the photos and not my advertising and rent expenses. 

Why are you more expensive than other photographers & studios?

Since the advent of the digital camera the number of people who claim photography as a hobby has increased. The sad part is, quite a few wedding photographers, be it independent, or studio hired, are nothing more than weekend shutterbugs looking to supplement their regular income. It’s simply supply & demand, there is a demand for saving money on wedding expenses & there is a supply of inexperienced photographers willing to make just a couple of hundred dollars a few weekends a year. My advice, if you find one of these photographers, ask them what they do during the week? If it isn’t photography, buyer be ware.

Will you travel?

Yes, whether it’s driving to a location in the Midwest, or anywhere my passport will get me, I’m open to traveling to shoot your wedding. In most cases the only additional costs occur when the location is over a 2 hours drive from Chicago, in the form of flight & hotel expenses.  I generally requests at least a two night stay, a full day ahead to arrive before the ceremony, this helps make up for possible flight delays, and then night of the wedding. If I hang out longer that’s on my dime.

What do you charge to travel?

I like to travel, so my travel expenses can be covered at cost, either by you directly (booking hotel & airfare), or included in the deposit.  I don’t expect first class air & a room at the Ritz, but unless the wedding is in the jungle, I don’t expect Pond Hopper Air & a tent, either. 

Do you have an assistant if I want a second photographer?

Nothing but professionals here. I do not employ assistants, interns, or any other kind of helpers when it comes to creating photos & videos at a wedding. I hire a seasoned second photographer from a network of fellow professional photographers who all shoot weddings on their own, but are not photographing the day you’ve booked me. Cost for a second photographer is generally based on the number of hours they are photographing.

Big Studios Part 1: “I talked to a large photography studio that does weddings and they warned me against using an independent photographer.”

Big studios are playing up their assets to cover up their short fallings. They can often use over a dozen different photographers throughout the course of the year. Most of their photographers have limited investment in the longevity of the studio and view it as just working for some one else till they can open their own studio. Also, photos you may see on their companies web site often aren’t taken by the same photographer you’re getting. Or worse, the images in the studio’s portfolio are by some one who doesn’t even work there anymore. Read the next questions to see some more scare tactics a large studio might use. Your photographer should be the one you talk to from start to finish, not just some one you meet once and then follows notes taken from the sales person who booked the wedding.

Big Studios Part 2: “What happens if the independent photographer is hit by a bus on the way to the church?”

While this question isn’t word for word, it’s from an FAQ of a big studio’s website. Every bride fears the “Rainy Day” scenario. You know the story, it will rain, the cake will fall over, the photographer won’t show up and the groom will run off with the Maid of Honor. The fear os this happening has actually created an subset of insurance polices for such things. Sure, a big studio may be able to get you a replacement one or two days before, but even they would be hard pressed to find someone an hour or two before the ceremony, and either-way do you really want to pay top dollar for a the low man on the totem pole? Over the years, myself and several other photographers have set up a small network to address this issue. We generally find one of us who isn’t working that weekend to fill in as a backup for worst case scenarios. However, if you still have this fear, I always suggest getting a second photographer. In the unlikely event of my near fatal bus encounter however, any deposit or payment already made for the second photographer would be refunded.

Big Studios Part 3: “Some photographers use their house as their office. Where do you go if there’s a problem?”

Yes, I do use my house. I use book stores, coffee houses. I’ve even met a couple from Milwaukee at the I-94 Oasis in Deerfield. Lets be honest here, traffic stinks! If you’re not in the same area as me and would like to meet in between, I’ll gladly travel, even if you haven’t booked me yet. I use my home address, not a PO Box, for all mail correspondence. How does that big studio that uses the name of it’s great grandfather deal with complaints? “That photographer doesn’t work for us anymore.” I can’t do that, so not only do you know where I live, my name is my reputation.

Big Studios Part 4: “You should use a photographer who only shoots weddings. They will know the right positions and lighting techniques.”

Besides the fact that I meet with couples at least once before their wedding to go over a time line and ceremony layout, a good photographer knows how to adjust for lighting and position. I’ve shot professional sports in blizzards & rain storms, followed elected officials & celebrities in and our of crowded buildings on assignments, so I’m not really worried about my skills when it comes to shooting at a church, ballroom, or an outdoor wedding you shouldn’t be either.

Do I get to see proofs?

The simple answer is, no, I do not do proofs. Proofs were generally a quick and low quality print to help couples pick out what they wanted printed, or in an album and typically thrown away. Now days you get to see the real thing and you get to keep it too. Included with every package is non-watermarked full digital copies.  However, I will gladly get your proofs if you want them, but it would be an additional cost.

Do I get digital copies of everything you shoot?

Yes. Do you really want to have to track down a studio, or photographer each time you want a new 8×10? No you don’t. As part of every package I include full copies of every image I take. Make them into Christmas cards or create your own album. Each contract includes an unlimited personal usage rights to the photos. They are yours to use in any non-commercial way you want.

I want a wedding album, what do you offer?

My go to wedding albums are custom designed by me, and hand-printed in Italy.

Albums, custom designed by me & hand printed in Italy.

I typically work with albums with a full page real photographic prints, but I can do everything from an old school matte frame album, to a softcover magazine style album. Want small business card size flip books to give away as presents, or thank yous? I can do that too. Parent’s books, travel albums or the grand daddy of them all, a Graphi Studio Wedding Book. You can be as involved, or as hands off as you want in the design process.

Do I get an online gallery?

A password protected online gallery is part of each wedding package. It can be used for for viewing, or for purchasing printed photos. There is no additional charge for this feature.

 

What do you think is the most important thing to look for from a photographer beside good images?

You should like the person and feel like you can let them into your world. When I shoot a wedding, I’m with you before you put on the dress, or tux. My images are ten times better when the couples feel comfortable with me around. In most cases I’ll be with you as much, or more than the wedding planner, bridal party, or your parents on this day. I try to stay light hearted and easy going at weddings. Because of this I have a few former couples who I now call friends.

How Much Does A Second Photographer Cost?

Cost for a second photographer is generally based on the number of hours they are photographing. It generally starts around $600.

How much do your albums cost?

Album prices are not easy to price before hand. A 40 page album can vary in price by $500 if the cover & size of the book are different. General price is calculated by (page design+material cost=total price). The simplest albums start around $400, with an average album running between $800-$1,200. All Graphi Studio albums I make come with a lifetime guarantee and are of an heirloom quality that can be passed on to your children.

Am I done asking questions yet?

The FAQ section is set up by category, don’t forget to take advantage of narrowing down the questions by topics. If you still have more, feel free to get in touch with me via the connect page. Also, if you want some professional insight on wedding photography (even if you don’t use me as your photographer) check out my blog.

What do you charge for a portrait photography session?

A portrait session for a family, couple, or single person typically start at $200. This price is not available for business, actor, or modeling headshots. Please see my work at Othervertical Media for commercial photography needs.

What is included in a typical portrait photo session?

A typical portrait photography session will start by choosing whether to do in-studio, or outdoor photoshoot. They roughly last between 30-45 minutes worth of photography time, and post shoot photo reviews can happen if scheduled ahead of the shoot. A final product of six full sized, retouched, non-watermarked digital photos, selected by the client will be delivered electronically. Additional photos are available, but may cost an additional fee.

How many people can I get in a family portrait session?

A family portrait sessions is generally intended for the immediate family (example; parents, children, maybe a family pet). That being said, it is not unheard of to have a grandparent, or adult aunt/uncle in the family portrait as well. Large family group photos are easily accomplished, but are not typically included in the a family portrait session.

What’s the difference between commercial & personal usage?

You may have seen the term “personal usage rights” or “not for commercial use” used on the site and thought “what does that mean?” Images have value and in the photography world that usually means how they are used in the end. If you want to make 100 8×10 prints and give them to friends & family for Christmas; That’s personal use. If you want to use a photo I take for your next business card, or advertisement; that’s commercial use and there is special licensing and cost associated with that. Under no circumstances are any photos I take to be sold by anyone other than me without a written agreement.

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