MichaeLens Photography » Serving the Florida Keys - Key Largo, Marathon, Islamorada, To Key West

Common Photography and Equipment Misconceptions

1. A Brief Overview

There are many misconceptions regarding photography and photography equipment. We often hear questions like, “How many megapixels do I need?”, “Which is better, Canon or Nikon”, “Should I (or my photographer) use a crop frame or full frame camera?”, “Is digital or film better?”

We wrote this article to help explain and correct some of these common photography misconceptions.

2. Megapixels Megashmixels – Don’t Get Caught up in Megapixel Marketing

For years, camera companies have marketed their products to consumers by primarily touting the number of megapixels. However, megapixels are not a measurement of the quality of the images; the number simply determines the printable size.

For example, a 3 megapixel camera can print a 5×7, while an 8 megapixel camera can go up to an 8×11 without any post production sharpening. However, any sharp image above 8 megapixels can be enlarged to any size with a little bit of post production preparation.

However, the quality of your print is determined by the quality of the image sensor, not the megapixels. Thus you can have a lovely 8×10 print come out of an 8 megapixel camera, while you might have a terrible looking 8×10 print come out of a 15 megapixel camera. So, be sure to look at the quality and type of camera rather than just the megapixels.

3. Large Raw Vs. Small Raw

Contrary to common belief, shooting LRAW (Large RAW) vs SRAW (Small RAW) does not provide you higher quality images. The megapixel count simply determine the largest print size when coming straight from the camera. SRAW can be printed directly from the camera at approximately 9 x 13 while LRAW can be printed up to 12 x 18. However, a SRAW image can always be enlarged to print at any size. In addition, virtually every image printed larger than a 8 x 10 will require enlargement touch ups as there can be many flaws in images that aren’t noticable as a 4 x 6, but are as a 12 x 18 print.

However, there are several downsides to shooting in LRAW. The first and most important being the decreased low light performance. Shooting in SRAW significantly improves noise handling when shooting in low light situations. Typically, 75% of weddings are shot in what is considered low light situations. Preparation, indoor ceremonies, receptions are all low light environments. Thus, shooting in SRAW will actually provide higher quality images in all of these situations.

The other obvious disadvantage to shooting in LRAW is the increased usage of space. This causes the photographer to have to swap out cards twice as much during a shoot, possibly causing him/her to miss moments. In addition, it also slows down post production workflow as well as causes problems when clients try to print from such large file sizes as many common labs such as Costco, will not accept files larger than 10 megabytes.

Thus there are no downsides to shooting in SRAW and because of the improved noise handling and higher quality low light images we shoot in the SRAW format.

4. Canon vs. Nikon – Two Great Camera Systems

While our studio uses Canon cameras and equipment, both Nikon and Canon make great professional camera bodies and lenses. When people ask, which camera is better, there is really no clear cut answer to the question. The fact is, both manufacturers make great cameras overall, with subtle differences. For example, Nikon cameras typically have more autofocus points than Canon. However, the difference is more of a preference than one in quality.

While each camera maker takes turns of being on top, in the long run, they are both equal. Prior to the release of Nikon’s D3, Canon was on top with the 1D series cameras. Since the release of the D3, Canon was behind until the release of the 5D Mark II. It has always been, and will be this type of environment in the professional photography market. When you ask, “which camera is better,” it really simply depends on the month and year you ask. But in general, both camera systems are amazing and professional quality.

5. Full Frame vs. Crop Frame Sensors

Sensor format is often a big question in consumers’ minds. Should professional photographers be using camera bodies with full frame sensors such as in the Canon 5D or Nikon D700, or a crop frame sensor such as in a the Canon 40D or Nikon D300.

While generally, you will get overall higher image quality and better low light performance out of a camera body with a full frame sensor, nice crop frame sensor camera bodies can also produce amazing professional quality results. The truth of the matter is that it depends more on the photographer and their technique than the camera itself.

There are many amazing professional photographers that shoot on Canon 40Ds and Nikon D300s. In fact, a large portion of our shots are taken on Canon 40Ds, as they are our secondary camera. Bottom line, it depends on the photographer and their technical skill.

However, it should be noted that professional photographers should be using AT LEAST a Canon 40D or Nikon D300 (or equivalent) as their primary camera body as those cameras could be considered the first level of professional camera bodies. Currently, Nikon’s top of the line camera models are the D3 and D3x, while Canon’s is the 5D Mark II and the 1D series.

5. Digital vs. Film

A few years ago, we might have been able to make the argument that it makes more sense sticking with film, rather than digital. However, today the professional photography scene is much different. While there are still certain situations where film performs more favorably than digital, the overall quality and advantages of digital over film make the choice relatively straight forward.

Shooting digital allows professional photographers to have virtually unlimited storage capabilities and thus take more shots (though this is not always a good thing – see our article on quality over quantity). Today, professional photographers can shoot 2,000-3,000 images in a single day using digital where as with film, it was unheard of to exceed 1,000.

What does this mean? Well, with more images, you generally will have more choices to select from. Thus the photographer can choose the best of three shots, rather than just having to accept whatever shot he had of the moment.

Digital also allows the professional photographer to “chimp,” or preview, the shot straight in the camera. This allows them to quickly remove any poor shots, as well as to be creative and test their exposures right on the spot.

The digital workflow is similar in theory to the film days. Previously, we were developing film in the dark room; today the dark room has simply moved to our computers. However, the techniques of dodging, burning, brightening, levels, etc are largely the same.

So, because of the overall quality of digital, the ability to create and test on the spot, improved workflow, and much more, our studio now shoots only digital.

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My Camera Bag

I believe, and I will always believe, that there is so much more to wedding photography than just nice equipment. However, that is not to say your wedding photographer shouldn’t have nice equipment. Here is our list of my professional equipment.  Besides the equipment listed below, we have a variety of tripods, filters, and other accessories.

1. Cameras

Starting with camera bodies, our studio uses the most current and high-performing wedding photography camera bodies available to date, the Canon 5D Mark II.

  1. Primary camera body: Canon 5D Mark II
  2. Backup camera body: Canon 50D

3.  Lenses

Our studio purchases only high-end professional L quality lenses in order to get the best sharpness, contrast and saturation straight from our camera. Our lenses consist of multiple:

  1. Canon 70-200mm F/2.8 L IS USM Telephoto
  2. Canon 24-105mm F/4 L USM IS Zoom
  3. Canon 50mm F/1.4 USM Portrait
  4. Canon 17-40mm F/4 L USM Ultra Wide Zoom
  5. Canon 15mm F/2.8 Fisheye
  6. Canon 100mm macro F/2.8 USM

4. Lighting

  1. Canon Speedlite 580EX Flash
  2. Canon Speedlite 430EX II Flash
  3. Pocket Wizard Plus II Remote Trigger
  4. Dynalite studio flash head
  5. Dynalite MP500 Powerpack
  6. Portable hand held video lighting

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Hiring “Uncle Joe”

A Fictional Story Based on Real Events

While the names and locations in this story are fictional, it is based on real and unfortunate wedding photography horror stories that we have heard first hand from friends, contacts, wedding guests, clients, etc.

It Always Starts with the Same Line

“My Uncle Joe has an amazing camera, I think I am going to just pay him $500 to shoot my wedding.” While Uncle Joe may be very good, here are a few reasons to go with the professional.

Wedding photography is so much more than just having a nice camera. Uncle Joe may have a nice camera, in fact, let’s say Uncle Joe is a lawyer and photography is his passion. So, not only does he have a nice camera, but he has the best camera money can buy at the moment, the Canon 5D Mark II ($2,700). Even more so, Uncle Joe loves shooting in his spare time so much that he even bought a full set of Canon L Series lenses and accessories ($15,000).

Already, we are assuming that this Uncle Joe is much more prepared than 99% of the Uncle Joe’s out there. Now let’s assume that Uncle Joe frequently goes out, once or twice a month and shoots nature and urban scenes with all of his great equipment. Uncle Joe even had some of his work published.

Wedding time comes, and Uncle Joe is feeling great and confident that he is going to do an awesome job. Uncle Joe starts with some outside shots of the preparation location and everything is looking good. Then Uncle Joe steps inside where the preparation is taking place. Uncle Joe doesn’t like manually exposing his pictures, so he shoots with the cameras help. Unfortunately, the camera is only so smart.

Uncle Joe starts snapping preparation shots and notices that his lens isn’t wide enough. So, he quickly goes out to the car to swap out his lenses since he wasn’t anticipating this problem. When he gets back, the bride’s makeup is done, and now they are working on the hair. Uncle Joe didn’t take any time to check out the lighting prior to the shoot, so he has no off camera lighting, or any additional lighting equipment. So, Uncle Joe figures that he can just raise his ISO settings super high so that he can capture enough light to properly expose the scene. This works, however, little does he know, that every picture shot will be too grainy to blow up beyond a 4×6 print.

Uncle Joe now heads over to shoot the groom. Uncle Joe looks at the scene and adjusts his camera settings based on what the camera reads. Unfortunately, because there was so much black in the scene from the suits, the camera was over exposing all of the shots to compensate. Uncle Joe didn’t realize though, and just kept chugging away.

Let’s say this is a simple wedding and now it’s time for the ceremony. Uncle Joe scopes out a great spot, pops on his zoom lens, and waits. The groom makes his way in, and Joe shoots him like a pro snapping 50 shots as the groom is coming down the aisle. The only problem is that all 50 shots are out of focus because the subject was walking towards Uncle Joe, and his focus settings were not set for moving subjects.

The father and bride begin coming down the aisle, and just the same, Uncle Joe fires away taking 50 more shots. Again, none of which are crisp and in focus.

The wedding ceremony is going great, and Joe grabs several great shots. But Uncle Joe realizes again, that his camera lens isn’t wide enough, so Uncle Joe runs to his bag to grab a different lens. On his way back, he sees the couple just as they kiss for the first time. Uncle Joe missed it. He also didn’t think to shoot any of the bride or grooms family during the ceremony, as he was trying not to miss anything in the ceremony.

After the ceremony, it’s time for formals. Uncle Joe guides everyone to his favorite spot outdoors where he has a beautiful shot of the view. The subjects are facing away from the sun, so that he can capture the grandeur of the scene. Because the formals are being shot in the bright noon-day sun, Uncle Joe doesn’t realize that the camera is under exposing the entire scene since the background is so bright.

Uncle Joe takes only a few family formal shots, and only one shot of each set. Little to Joe’s knowledge, every shot is coming out too dark and completely underexposed (See below)

Reception time has arrived, and Uncle Joe has already worked 10 hours! He figures that he should relax and enjoy the wedding too since he is family. So, he gives his camera to his young son who loves photography and tells him to shoot.

Uncle Joe is so exhausted that he doesn’t shoot for the rest of the night. I mean, he is helping out the bride and groom so much by saving them money, and doing it for so cheap that he figures it shouldn’t matter anyway.

Since Uncle Joe doesn’t have the software, or even know how to post produce images. He simply gives the bride and groom a DVD with all of the images burned to it. The bride and groom sit down, dying with anticipation and pop the DVD into the computer to start looking through their uncles beautiful work!

100 pictures into the 2,000 pictures Uncle Joe shot, the bride is already in tears, as every photo is too dark, too bright, blurry, or just not that good. Furthermore, the bride and groom notice that there is no shot of their first kiss, and the only reception shots were of Uncle Joe’s son shooting all of the kids at the reception.

While this story in particular is fictional, each one of the events and outcomes are from real situations that we wedding photographers hear about all of the time. In fact, so many of our client’s guests have approached us during a shoot to tell us about their “Uncle Joe” experience, and how they wish they had hired us to shoot the wedding. So, why does this happen to Uncle Joe? Because the bottom line is, while Joe had all the professional gear (which is unlikely in the first place), and experience shooting nature and outdoors scenes he doesn’t have the following:

  1. The ability to quickly adjust his camera settings based on different lighting scenes. Most of the time wedding photographers have 2-3 seconds to adjust settings on the fly, any more than that, and the wedding photographer is almost guaranteed to miss something.
  2. The knowledge of how his camera reads and interprets light in order to compensate for under or over exposure. In these situations the wedding photographer must rely on his experience rather than the camera’s readings.
  3. The foresight to be prepared for each situation with a secondary camera prepped with a different type of lens. Professional wedding photographers will always scope out the wedding venue and scenes prior to the wedding and plan ahead.
  4. The carrying cases needed to always have his necessary equipment and accessories on him at all times. Professional wedding photographers will always have their equipment readily available on their person, or nearby.
  5. Experience shooting fleeting moments that you only have one chance to capture. A first kiss typically only lasts 1-2 seconds, and you don’t necessarily know exactly when it is going to happen. The wedding photographer must be staring through his lens, ready and prepared for this moment to happen.
  6. Experience and knowledge required to anticipate angles and approaches to each scene. Knowing where to stand, and what angles to shoot is something that only comes from experience.
  7. The energy to work non-stop for 12-18 hours without breaks. This is a wedding photographer’s job, they don’t rest or take breaks. Our team staggers their breaks during non-crucial moments of the day, and even then there is always one or two additional wedding photographers shooting while one is on break.
  8. The ability to create unique lighting scenes, and supplement natural light with his own lighting. Understanding light and lighting is something that comes from study, training and experience. Being a master of lighting is impossible unless you have tried shooting in every possible lighting situation.
  9. Experience in guiding and directing large group formals. This is where the wedding photographer’s personality and tact are so important. How do they interact with the bride, groom and their family.
  10. The knowledge of advanced focus techniques.
  11. Experience in taking extra shots of crucial pictures such as during formals in case of blinking, awkward expressions, etc.

In addition to all of this, there is so much more that Uncle Joe would need in order to take professional quality wedding photographs from start to finish.

While are there a lot of areas in your wedding budget that you can save money on, wedding photography should not be one of them. If you want to have professional- quality, creative imagery of your wedding day that will be timeless heirlooms to be shown and handed down to your generations to come, you will need a professional wedding photographer.

Often times, wedding photography studios such as our own, will work with clients in customizing their packages in order to fit within their budget. If that is the case, choose quality over products. Choose to have 2 photographers rather than just one, and forgo the album, prints and slideshows for now. We understand that newlyweds are often on a budget, as they are starting their new lives together. So, wait on the products until later in your life. Three, four, even five years from now when you and your family is well established, go ahead and order that album, or those large prints. It might be better to wait to buy gorgeous and real imagery, than to have low quality photography slapped into an album and ready for you when you get back from your honeymoon.

To sum it up, while you can always order products later, you can never order better quality and more creative imagery after your event.

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Frequently Asked Questions


We’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions for your convenience. If you’re wondering, yes, all of these questions actually have been asked, as specific or as general as some of them may sound. If you have other questions, feel free to contact anytime.

General Questions

Q: “Do you deliver every image you shoot?”

A: No we do not. The shots we do not deliver are typically shots where you or your guests are making expressions that are unflattering. For example, when a person laughs, for us to capture his/her expression, we have to shoot several images consecutively. Unfortunately, when we laugh we usually make several unflattering images before and after. So what we do is select the images with the best expression from the series and archive the rest.

Q: “Does your studio provide videography services?”

A: We currently do not provide videography services, however we work with several videographers that have a similar working style to ensure we do not constantly get into each others shots.

Q: “Have you shot at my venue before?”

A: I have shot at several venues so there is a good chance that I have. If I have not however I will be sure to perform a thorough walkthrough with you prior to your wedding day.

Q: “Do you guys do destination weddings? What additional fees are associated with destination weddings?”

A: While I am currently living in the Fabulous Florida Keys, a Wonderful Wedding Destination in itself, I do serve clients all around the world. My destination wedding photography packages are simply my standard packages plus the cost of travel and reasonable accommodations if necessary.

Q: “Do you provide partial day coverage?”

A: Yes, I currently do.

Q: “Does your studio do headshots, individual portraits, family portraits, commercial photography, or other types of photography?”

A: Yes, I love photography and I think I’m pretty good at it… what do you think?

Q: “Do you shoot Quinceaneras, Debutants, Bah Mitzvahs, or Corporate Events?”

A: Yes. These are all considered ‘event photography.’ We have chosen to focus and excel at wedding and event photography; and we would love to cover your celebration.

Style and Quality Questions

Q: “What is your philosophy regarding photography?”

A: We believe that in hiring a professional wedding photographer, clients deserve a professional that is able to use his or her technological expertise and creative vision to create a product that clients and amateur photographers could not on their own. With digital SLR cameras becoming more and more affordable, there are many amateur photographers out there posing as professionals. Our goal is to educate our clients on the differences and provide artistic imagery that even far surpasses other top knotch wedding photography studios.

Therefore, our wedding photography philosophy has three primary parts as follows:

  1. Wedding photographers are artists and therefore must have a deep understanding of artistic theory including concepts on composition, lighting, color, design, balance, etc.
  2. Wedding photographers should be using professional grade camera and lighting equipment.
  3. Wedding photographers are constantly in unusual lighting situations with significant time constraints, thus wedding photographers must be masters of their equipment. Being able to quickly adjust camera settings, anticipate lenses needed for each scene, use on and off-camera lighting techniques, etc are crucial to being able to consistantly create a professional product.

Q: “Can I see a full event from start to finish?”

A: Of course you may! We pride ourselves on the consistency of our work. We understand all photographers put up their best shots from each wedding on their websites so it’s hard to determine how well he or she will perform on the wedding day. That is why we encourage all of our potential clients to view full events from all photographers they meet with to see how well the photographer performs throughout the day.

Q: “My venue is really dark. How does your studio handle these situations and can I see samples?”

A: We have shot in the darkest of dark chapels and reception halls so no need to worry! If the situation allows, we will set up additional lighting to ensure we get bright crisp pictures. Some chapels do not allow for flash photography; and for that reason, we shoot on camera’s with superb low-light performance and lenses with low apertures.

Post Production Questions

Q: “Do you touch up all the images on our image DVD?”

A: Yes I do. Every image we deliver is post produced with our unique style of basic post production. This involves color correction, exposure adjustment, selective black and white processing, clarity adjustments, tone-mapping, and other corrections. Many photographers will not post product any, or will only post produce “select” images from your wedding. This means that you may have pictures that are too dark, have strange skin tones, or other common photography flaws. This is also time consuming but I really enjoy it. If your wondering why photography costs more than YOU MAY believe it should, it actually takes TIME from start to finish. Most Weddings take a total of 40-80 hours from start to finish. You do the math.

Q: “What do you mean by “”touching up”” the photo’s?”

A: “Touching up” in my studio is the same as basic post production. See the question below for clarification.

Q: “What is the difference between basic, advanced, and premium post-production?”

A: Basic post production, including color correction and black and white processing, are essential to each and every photo. Be wary of studios and photographers that do not perform this minimal level of post production as their clients will receive a product that is far less than professional quality. We perform basic post production to each and every image purchased with a package at no additional charge. In addition, if clients decide to purchase a digital negatives DVD, they can rest assured that all photos on that disc will be processed using one of the basic styles. In choosing a basic style of post production, clients may choose to have all of their images either color corrected, black and white processed, or a combination at the photographer’s discretion (recommended).
* Non-Package Pricing – $4.99 per Image – Min. of 20 images per order

Advanced styles of post production involve much more expertise and in depth development that can turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. There are several drent general styles of advanced post production including: Timeless, Natural and Modern. The Timeless style includes eects that do not time stamp images and are considered more classic and of course, timeless. The Natural style includes eects that are subtle and simply emphasize the natural beauty and colors within the scene. The Modern style includes more trendy and avant-garde eects based on styles in the fashion and modeling world. Each package comes with set number of advanced style post production images. You can choose the images and desired styles, or have the photographers to choose at their professional discretion.
* Pricing – $9.99 per Image – Minimum of 10 images per order

Premium processing styles are styles of processing that take the photograph one step beyond photograph art and in the direction of a graphic art. These techniques require expert level post production knowledge and are extremely time intensive. Premium styles currently include Fine Art and Collage. Fine Art styles use textures and effects to add to the natural ambiance and emotion of a picture; while Collage style post production uses single or multiple images and designs to create a collage piece that is as much graphic art as it is photography. Collages are great for creating large poster size prints that with a unique presentation. Each package comes with a set number of premium style post production images. You can choose the images and premium production styles for each, or you can allow the photographers to choose at their professional discretion.
* Pricing – $19.99 per Image – Minimum of 5 images per order”

Q: “Do you shoot in JPEG, Small Raw, or Large Raw?”

A: We shoot most of our images in LARGE Raw with certain situations where we move to SMALL Raw.

wedding day questions

Q: “How many hours do you suggest we set aside for wedding day photo’s?”

A: The amount of time we suggest you set aside for photos depends on the time of day.

Preparation Shots – Duration: 1.5 hours
Ideally we would have 45 minutes for the girls and 45 minutes with the guys.

Couples session – Duration: 1 hour to 1.5 hours
We highly suggest doing this before the ceremony in conjunction with a “first site.” That way you can enjoy the rest of your day without having to worry about taking too much time out for photo’s. Also this is when the makeup and hair are fresh. We’ll set up a first look moment so it’ll still be a surprise when you see each other. Be sure to give us at least a full hour so we can capture the amazing shots you see in our portfolio.

Family Formals – Duration: 1 hour
Have a list of pictures that you want with your family/friends right after the ceremony. Typically this is done at the altar but we can do it any location you’d like. Also, have one person of from each side of the family that is really organized (and loud) to move people in and out of photo’s.

Bridal Party (Optional) – Duration: 0.5 hour to 1 hour
This is where we take the bridal party out for some fun shots. This is also nice to handle before the ceremony so that you can rest and enjoy your day afterwards.

Engagement Session questions

Q: “When can we expect to see our photo’s from our engagement session?”

A: Post production for engagement sessions are completed within four weeks after the date of the shoot. If you require the images to be completed prior to four weeks after the date of the shoot, a rush-process fee of $100.00 will be charged.

Q: “When should we do our engagement session?”

A: We encourage you to do your engagement session as soon as possible. The latest we suggest is at least eight weeks prior to the wedding date due to the time necessary to post produce each image (4 weeks) and complete your product order(s) (4 weeks). See the engagement session post production delivery time and engagement session product delivery time FAQ’s for more details.

Q: “Can we schedule our engagement session for the weekend?”

A: If the date is available, absolutely!
Q: “How many images do you typically deliver from and engagement session? From a wedding?”

We typically deliver anywhere from 50-150 images per 3 hour engagement shoot and for weddings we typically deliver 100 images per hour.

Q: “When and where can we view our portrait/engagement pictures?”

Family, Portrait, & Engagement Images will be completed within two-four weeks after the date of the shoot. If you require the images to be completed prior to four weeks after the date of your shoot, a rush-process fee of $100.00 will be charged, unless other terms were discussed. If you need one image for a “Save the Date” cards please let me know. The image DVD will be sent out prior to the first day of the fifth week. Also they will be available for viewing online Proof Page.

Albums,Prints,Books questions

Q: “How long does it take to get my prints?”

Product creation times vary, however in general, print orders will be completed within four weeks after the product order is submitted.

Similar to the post production process, if you require rush-processing, a fee of $100.00 will be charged. Additional fees for rush shipping may also apply.

Q: “How long does it take to get my album?”

As with our other products, production times vary, however you can expect to receive your album 4-6 weeks after placing the order. The process before placing the order varies in duration depending on how quickly you respond to the instructions for the album design as well as the amount of changes you request after the initial designs. Some brides complete this within a month or two, others take over a year.

Similar to the post production process, if you require rush-processing, a fee of $100.00 will be charged. Additional fees for rush shipping may also apply.

Q: “How long does it take to get my sign-in book?”

The sign in book takes around 4-6 weeks to print after the order is submitted. As with the album, the time it takes to get the order ready for print depends on how quickly you respond to our instructions and how many changed you request.

Similar to the post production process, if you require rush-processing, a fee of $100.00 will be charged. Additional fees for rush shipping may also apply.

Q: “What albums companies do you offer?”

A: Asuka, Red Boot Design, Loktah, MPixPro and a few others top dogs.

Q: “Can I add more pages and images to my album?”

A: Yes! each additional page is priced per album and includes the design time/revisions and three retouched images per page.”

Q: “Do you guys provide framing services as well?”
A: We do not provide framing services, however we can provide you with recommendations on where to purchase and frame your images.

Q: “What is the difference between an ‘online slideshow’ and a ‘dvd slideshow?”

A: Online slideshows are the slideshows you see on my blog. These typically include one song and around 60 images depending on the length of the song. We choose the images and the song to fit your wedding day. These are hosted online (on our blog) indefinitely.

DVD slideshows, on the other hand, are DVDs that we create using two songs of your choice and the images of your choice. We still recommend that you leave the song selection and image selection to us, as this is part of our expertise, but if you do want more control, you can have it with this product.

Image DVDs Questions and Legal Questions

Q: “What size can we print our photo’s up to with our full resolution image DVD?”

A: In most cases, you can print your photo’s up to 20×30 without any quality loss.

Q: “What rights do I have to the digital prints?”

A: You have the right to reprint images whenever you want, wherever you want. However you may not sell your images for a profit or publish your images without the written consent of me, myself the photographer.

Q: “Do you provide the RAW files from my engagement session and/or wedding day?”

A: Each of our packages comes with a full resolution image DVD. However, we typically do not provide RAW (unprocessed) files from our shoots because we believe in delivering a finished product. In face, we’re often shooting with the end (post-produced) product in mind. However if you absolutely want your RAW images, we will provided them to you along with our post-produced JPG’s for an additional fee of $1,000.

Q: “How many images do you deliver on the image DVD?”
A: For an 3 hour engagement session we typically deliver 50-100 images and for a wedding we deliver 100 images per hour of coverage.”

Q: “Do you provide the digital negatives after the shoot?

A: Yes we do. All of our packages come with Full Resolution image DVDs.

Q: “What happens if my image dvd arrives damaged?”

A: If your image DVD arrives in the mail damaged, please contact me and we will immediately send out another copy.

Q: “What if I lose my image DVD?”

A: There is a $50 replacement charge for image DVDs. We strongly suggest you make at least one copy of the DVD when you receive it from us.

Equipment questions

Q: “What type of camera/equipment do you use?”

A: I currently use Canon 5D and Canon 50D cameras with lots of top lenses and gadgets. I have a video of my equipment here.

business Insurance and image backup questions

Q: “Do you backup our images? How can we ensure that our images won’t be lost?”

A: We have never lost an image from a wedding due to the following backup workflow for each our events:
During the shoot, we back up on a Epson External Hard Drive after each major event throughout the day. This leaves one copy on the CF cards and creates one copy on the Epson External Hard Drive. After the shoot, we back up the CF card to a local server set up in a RAID 1 configuration. Once the images are completed we upload the images to a offsite location and burn another copy for our archives. At any given point, there are two copies of the files, sometimes three.

Q: “Do you have liability insurance?”

A:Yes. Many venues require the photographer to have Liability Insurance. So before hiring “Uncle Joe”, make sure he’s covered. I’m also a current member of Professional Photographers of America (www.ppa.com)

Meeting Policy questions

Q: “We live out-of-town. Is it possible for our family/friends to meet with you instead?”

We’d love to meet your relatives, answer all their question and review our work with them. If possible, we’d like to at least webcam with you to get to know you better if you have SKYPE we can meet and chat face to face. My SKYPE name is Michaelynn919.

Q: “We’re really busy and won’t be able to meet” or “we live far away.” Are there any other options?”

A: We would love to meet with you prior to our engagement shoot or wedding; however if you’re somehow too busy or too far away, we can handle everything remotely. Just think about what you hope to achieve from that meeting and we can think of ways of achieving them. For example, if one of your goals is to see more work, we can gladly show you complete events online. If your goal is to talk about packages and get a sense of the photographer’s personality, telephone calls and webcam appointments can be arranged. If possible, we’d like to at least webcam with you to get to know you better if you have SKYPE we can meet and chat face to face. My SKYPE name is Michaelynn919.

Q: “Do you travel to meet clients?”

A: If your in town, lets meet for lunch!

Payment and tax questions

Q: “How do I reserve you for my date?”
A: All dates are reserved once we receive your deposit.

Q: “What if we exceed our contracted time for our engagement shoot and/or wedding day coverage?”
A: Standard rates apply for overtime. Overtime is generally billed at the rate of $225/hour per Master Photographer and $100/hour per Associate Photographer. Remember, I am willing to work with all of you to come up with a package and price that suits you and your individual needs. So if we discuss it up front, you may get a discounted price from the quote above.

Q: “Is there an additional fee if we pay via credit card or Paypal?”
A: Yes. Our credit card processing fee is 1.5% of the total package price

Q: “If we cancel the wedding will we receive our deposit back?”
A: Unfortunately no. Deposits are use to reserve your date. Once we’ve reserved your date we do not accept new clients for your date.

Q: “If we change our wedding to a different date, will we be able to use our deposit towards a future date?”
A: Yes. However, if rates change from the your original date to your new date, the new rates will apply

Q: “Are there travel fees associated with the Engagement Session and/or Wedding Day shoot(s)?”
A: For all  sessions, the first sixty miles roundtrip of travel are included or thirty miles each way. All miles in excess of sixty miles roundtrip or thirty miles each way is charged at $3.00 per mile.

All  session destinations above &  beyond 200 miles roundtrip are to be negotiated and will be handled on a situational basis. ”

Q: “Do you offer any discounts on weekday weddings, Sunday weddings, or weddings during the offseason?”

A: We do not offer discounts on Sunday weddings and off season weddings. As you know wedding season is almost year round here in sunny Florida so because of that we are shooting throughout the year. However we have offered discounts on weekday weddings when we have availability so feel free to call me to inquire about your date.

Q: “If I pay for my package in cash will we be able to avoid paying sales tax or receive a discounts?”

A: Unfortunately, collecting in cash does not exempt a photography studio from paying Florida sales tax on the amount of the entire package price when a physical product is delivered, whether that product be an album, image DVD or any other physical product.

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Kerri Modzelewski - May 21, 2011 - 5:11 pm

Hello! You come highly recommended by a local columnist. We live in Marathon and will be having our wedding January 14, 2012 at the Key Largo Marriott Bay Resort. Are you available for that date? I also see that you currently do not have videography services. I’m interested in that also. At your earliest convenience, please send me your package prices and if available the company that you work with for videography.

Thank you,


Michaelynn Dreiling - May 31, 2011 - 2:39 pm

Ahhh thanks so much to the local Columnist! I wonder whom it is? I sent you an email and would love to speak to you more about your wedding! Give me a call at 305-753-6390!

“Timing” of your Wedding Day /First Site Images

Here’s one of the most important tips I have for getting the best wedding images: Plan out the timing of your wedding thoughtfully. This tip encompasses a lot of factors that will greatly impact the quality of your photography AND your experience as the bride and groom on the wedding day. The choices you make about the timing of your wedding day will impact the amount of stress you deal with, the extent to which you have the opportunity to connect with one another and the quality of your photographs, specifically as it relates to good lighting and the quantity of relaxed portraits that are able to be captured.Whenever I sit down with potential clients to talk about their weddings, I like to get around to discussing the timing of their wedding with them. I want to make sure they are as prepared and educated with their options as they can be in order to make informed decisions that will be best for them. I oftentimes start out by asking them if they have their hearts set on not seeing each other until the ceremony. Traditionally, the groom waits to see his bride on the wedding day until she is walking down the aisle. This tradition originated with arranged marriages. When a couple was chosen for one another they were not allowed to see each other until the ceremony so that they wouldn’t have the chance to back out once they saw what each other looked like. Even though today, couples marry for love, some still like to uphold this tradition. I would say about 25% of the weddings I shoot, the bride and groom wait to see each other until the ceremony. But the trend is moving in the direction of spending more time together on your wedding day which means seeing each other before the ceremony. I really believe this is the best option for a number of reasons:

1. You get a chance to connect with one another before the craziness of the day takes over.

If you don’t see each other until the ceremony, you likely won’t get a chance to talk with the most important person in your life on your wedding day. You see each other during the ceremony, say your vows, then are swept away by the joy and love of your family and friends for the remainder of the day. If you see each other before the ceremony, you are able to have a private moment where you see each other for the first time while you are alone. You are able to react to one another verbally and much more openly because you aren’t standing in front of everyone you know. I absolutely LOVE this part of the day when couples first see each other before the ceremony. I am able to capture some amazing emotions as the couple sees each other for the first time and then we walk around the property shooting portraits of the two of them.

2. Your stress and anxiety are dissolved before the ceremony.

I’ve observed over 100 couples throughout the course of their wedding days and for the most part they all experience some type of anxiety as they prepare in the morning. All of their months of planning have led up to this most important day. The couples who see each other before the ceremony are anxious, but as soon as they see their best friend–get a chance to hug and talk and connect–any stress that they were experiencing completely dissolves. From that point on in the day, they are completely themselves and at ease. This is something I’ve seen happen time and time again and I want it for each of my couples.

3. Portraits can be as quick and painless as possible.

If you see each other before your ceremony, we can get all of your formal portraits out of the way before the ceremony so that you are free to do what you and all your guests really want to do after the ceremony – celebrate and enjoy your cocktail hour/reception. Consider these two options.

Example portrait schedule if you see each other before your ceremony:

2 hours before ceremony: Bride & Groom see each other for the first time & take portraits alone together

1.5 hours before ceremony: Portraits with bridal party

1 hour before ceremony: Portraits with families

1/2 hour before ceremony: Completely done with portraits as your guests begin to arrive–giving you time to go inside & freshen up.

Example portrait schedule if you don’t see each other before your ceremony:

1.5 hours before ceremony: Portraits of Bride with bridesmaids

1 hour before ceremony: Portraits of Groom with groomsmen

1/2 hour before ceremony: Temporarily done with portraits as your guests begin to arrive–giving you time to go inside & freshen up.

(with receiving line after ceremony)

30 min. after ceremony: Portraits with families

1 hour after ceremony: Portraits with bridal party

1.5 hours after ceremony: Portraits of Bride & Groom alone

2 hours after ceremony: Completely done with portraits

if Bride & Groom walk down aisle and just keep walking to a secluded area)

Immediately after ceremony: Portraits of Bride & Groom alone

30 min. after ceremony: Portraits with families

1 hour after ceremony: Portraits of bridal party

1.5 hours after ceremony: Completely done with portraits

As you can see, portraits can be taken care of before the ceremony in 1.5 hours. If you don’t see each other before the ceremony, portrait time will take up 2.5 hours of your day. In addition to the quantity of time being extended, the stress is also heightened when portraits are held off until after the ceremony. Gathering people before the ceremony is easily done through good communication before the wedding day. There are no additional guests present to work around. After the ceremony, everyone just wants to love on you and congratulate you and get to the bar. So many times during portraits after the ceremony, no one can find uncle Bob. More time is wasted gathering people and I have a difficult time getting everyone’s attention to accomplish the task at hand. It’s just more stressful on everyone.

4. You can plan your wedding near sunset.

So many brides and grooms want a sunset wedding. But natural light is vital for quality portraits. If you take care of all of the portraits before the ceremony, you have the flexibility to plan your wedding near sunset. No natural light is needed after the ceremony. If you wait to see each other, that’s o.k., just plan your wedding earlier in the day so that there is at least 2 hours of daylight post-ceremony for your portraits.

These are the ways in which the timing of your wedding greatly affects your photography. But photography aside, I really believe that these factors also affect your stress level and general enjoyment of the day. When I talk with brides and grooms about the options, I’m really keeping their best interests in mind.

One other tip as it relates to the timing of your day and your stress level, is to plan in extra time between different events of your day as there are always unexpected things that come up. Getting dressed on your wedding day will take you longer than it does on any other day of your life. Girls tend to underestimate how long it will take and sometimes guys are the most guilty of this. Planning in more time than you think you will need will help everything run smoothly.

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