How much do you cost? Will it help if I tell you that I’m on a budget or I have a small wedding?
Head over to our pricing page for our current starting rates. We understand that every single person has a budget of some sort for photography, some larger than others. If you’re here on this website and taking the time to read this, photography is important to you. It’s one of the only tangible things you’ll have from your wedding day to look back on, and you only get one opportunity to do it right. We take what we do very seriously (despite our constant love of sarcasm and jokes), and it’s not cheap or easy to be a full time photographer. That all being said – while we can’t promise to be able to work with all budgets, if you love us and want to have us as your photographer we will do whatever we can to help make it happen for you. We put the same amount of heart and effort into a wedding regardless of size. All weddings are equally special and important.
How do we book you? What’s the whole process like?
First we need to meet you. If you’re in San Diego or the Southern California area a face to face meeting is preferred. Alternatively we can set up a Skype video call. If that doesn’t work there is always a trusty phone. It’s in both of our interests to make sure that our personalities are the right fit for your day. When you’re ready to book us you select the package that fits you best. Then we send you over an online booking link that contains a contract and an option to pay the retainer ($1000 to hold the date) either by check or credit card. The balance is due 30 days before the event. You can upgrade your package or add additional services at any time.
I only want a disc of images. That’s not a question, why are you answering it like it is?
Because you don’t really just want a disc of images. We know you may have a tight budget and don’t want to deal with the costs of albums or prints right away which is why we include an electronic transfer of all of the high resolution images with all our services. However, your photos deserve to make it out of the computer and into a book or on your walls at some point. When you are ready we hope you’ll want us to design an album or a wall collection for you. Everything (that’s absolutely EVERYTHING) looks better in print. The magic of photos comes from seeing them daily, and remembering the people and the moments associated with them. They deserve more than just getting filed away on a hard drive.
Will you travel? Do you charge for travel?
Yes we definitely will travel & do so often! Our passports are current and we love to shoot in new environments. We generally work most travel fees into our packages for out of state (or out of country) weddings. It works better for us if we are able to book our own flights and rental cars. We do prefer our clients to book us a room at the hotel where their guests are staying if possible (especially if the event is taking place there). We always keep our travel expenses to a minimum so having us at your destination affair won’t break the bank.
Will you visit our venue before the wedding? Are we at an advantage if we book someone who has shot at our venue a million and fifty two times? Can we meet with you again before the wedding?
We’re happy to do site visits if the venue is in San Diego, or can be arranged on a day that we’re in LA for a shoot. If your venue is out of town, rest assured that we actually work very well shooting at venues we’ve never visited before. In fact most of our weddings were never scouted before the wedding day. We actually get inspired and are more creative when we’re in a totally new environment. You’re always at an advantage when hiring the Mitchells to be your photographers, but the advantage isn’t necessarily because we’ve shot at your venue before. We’re also happy to meet with you again before your wedding (remember it will likely need to be a weekday) if you need to go over details of things or just want to hang out, but most of it can be handled with our pre-event planning questionnaires and a phone call.
You guys never show family photos in your blog posts, do you take them?
Yep, we take them – and even if our clients hate them we still suggest setting some time aside to take them to appease your family. Trust us, they are really not much fun for anyone involved – yet if you don’t take them people usually get upset. We make the process as quick and as painless as possible. We just would rather focus on stuff that is more fun on our blog.
Who will be shooting our wedding? Will you have assistants?
We shoot all of our weddings together – and have been doing it like this since 2008. We have never missed a wedding. Josh shoots the girls getting ready, Melissa handles the guys. Josh does portraits, Melissa does details, and we take turns or are both present for everything else. On occasion we have assistants to run our photo booths, sherpa our gear, or act as third photographers for extremely large events or special circumstances. The only time this will impact you is if we have additional team members staying through the reception, in which case you’ll need to feed them, lest they starve and begin devouring your guests.
Do you shoot video?
Video is a very different set of skills from still photography, so we do not offer video. However we regularly team up with an amazing cinematographer and can work together to combine our services. If you are considering video you should hire someone just as talented as your photography team – because bad videographers can very easily impact the photography.
Can you help me put together a dream team of wedding professionals?
Totally. We know some really awesome people in the industry, and the more people you hire who are working together as a team – the more seamless your day will run. Furthermore we go to a lot of weddings, and we’re happy to give you advice on other aspects of your wedding planning. We want your day to be awesome, and to have as much fun as possible.
If someone gets out of hand at my wedding, will Melissa fight them?
Melissa has been working out and can be dangerous, but ultimately we can’t risk jail time to get into fights at weddings.
How much time do we need to book you for?
It depends a lot on how your timeline is laid out, and whether all of your events are in the same place. We typically start towards the end of the hair & makeup process and stay through most of the open dancing. If you’re unsure of your timeline in the beginning, you can always book a package with a smaller hour count and add more time to it later.
How far in advance should we book you?
Here’s the deal – like most businesses we run on a first come first served basis. There is no safe amount of time to wait to book any wedding professional. We sometimes book out as far as 18 months or more in advance. Because we only photograph one wedding a day… once the day is booked you are out of luck. So if you love any wedding vendor – book them. We don’t advocate hasty decisions, but when it’s right it’s right!
We’re from the planet Ork, will you be okay photographing a wedding from a strange culture?
We’ve photographed weddings from plenty of religious denominations and geographic locations in all shapes & colors. We like everyone. We are also Same-Sex Wedding friendly.
I see you do engagement sessions? Should we have one of those? When do you do them?
Engagement sessions are a fun way to get to know each other and get some great photos in the process. They aren’t essential to get good photos on your wedding day, but we do recommend them if you’re feeling nervous about being photographed. Engagement sessions are very different from your wedding day experience because you won’t be doing creative portraits with us on your wedding day for two hours straight. The nice thing about an engagement session is it gets out all of that nervous energy and/or feelings of awkwardness some people have over being photographed. So it’s up to you to decide whether or not you think it’s a valuable addition to your wedding package. We definitely want both of you to be excited about doing it though – we’re not the sort of photographers who drag all of our clients kicking and screaming to an engagement session – you should want it. Ideally, your engagement session should take place six months or more before your wedding if you want to use the photos for save the date cards, on your wedding website, or in other aspects of your wedding decor. As far scheduling them, we very rarely do engagement sessions on the weekends (because we leave those days open for weddings). Since our sessions are primarily in the late afternoon a couple of hours before sunset most people don’t have trouble getting off work a little early for them. We suggest thinking of it as a special occasion worthy of a day off work. Take the day to primp and then go out for a romantic dinner afterwards. It’s always best to schedule these sessions as far in advance as possible. Because our calendar fills up quickly we generally do not cancel engagement shoots unless it’s raining or unseasonably cold. Most of our sessions happen in San Diego but we regularly shoot in Los Angeles too. We are also game to do destination engagement sessions but additional travel fees would apply.
What do people do with engagement photos?
A lot of people use them for save the dates or announcements, wedding websites, and decorations at the wedding. We’ve seen them incorporated into table designs, displayed at various points in the reception area, and sometimes people have guestbooks made. If your goal is to do any of these things remember that we sometimes take up to 6 weeks in our busy season to finish the photos, so plan accordingly!
Will the photos be edited?
Yes. All of our photos are edited in Lightroom, where we make adjusts in exposure, color, and contrast. We will remove noticeable blemishes in close up photos of our clients for both engagement shoots and weddings. Additional retouching is carried out on a case by case basis, and additional fees may apply depending on the request.
Will you do special effects or process my photos like XYZ Photography?
We will not do selective color. Ever. We generally don’t like using actions or other special effect type filters for our photos. We like our work to have a clean, natural true to life look. Part of why you hire a photographer should be that you like their editing style, and we hope that you’ll like ours.
Color or black and white?
Generally we edit about 20% of our shoots in black and white. Our conversion process for black and white is specific to the image, it’s not just an off and on sort of thing, so we don’t provide a color and a black and white version of the same file. If you have a preference when it comes to black and white (as in you want more, or hate it), please let us know before your shoot.
How long does it take to get the photos?
Approximate 6-8 weeks for weddings, 4-6 weeks for portrait sessions.
How many photos do we get?
We’re not fixated on exact numbers. However, to give you a rough idea you will on average receive between 50-100 images per hour of service for weddings, and about 25 per hour for portrait sessions.
What is your style?
Mixed photographic. That’s sort of like mixed martial arts, just with cameras. Weddings are a blend of posed and non posed moments. It’s very difficult to shoot an entire wedding photo journalistically – and shooting a wedding where everything is set up and posed is definitely not our style. So it’s a blend of things – the important part (what we focus on), are making the moments real, even the ones we gently encourage.
What kind of camera do you use? Does this question even matter?
We currently shoot on the Canon 5DMKIII, and use an assortment of fast aperture prime lenses. However this question doesn’t really matter for the reasons people tend to think it does. Full frame cameras with super high ISO capacities and mind boggling megapixel numbers are nice but they are simply photographic hammers that help us drive our nails more efficiently and are only factors in producing great images. If I could eliminate one phrase from our photographic vocabulary it would probably be “that camera takes great photos.” The camera is just a tool, the great photo comes from the imagination and technical know-how of the photographer. I’ve seen amazing images come from cameras that have a fraction of the capabilities then the DSLR of the day has at Costco. I have a 7 foot wide canvas in my office that I took on a camera that has less megapixels than the average point and shoot. We run from X brand is better than Y brand conversations. We’ve shot on Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Olympus, and who knows what the future holds. The most important factors in equipment are good lenses, backups, and two slot cameras. What’s a two slot camera? One of the most vulnerable parts of digital photography are the media cards that the images are stored on inside the camera. The 5dMKIII has two card slots in it, so every image we take is written to a duplicate backup card. We believe it’s our responsibility as photographers to use the safest methods possible in protecting your images – which is why we believe two slot cameras are worth mentioning, as well as having backup gear on hand in case something fails.
I read somewhere online that we want to get RAW photos and a copyright? What’s up with that?
There is a ton of misinformation out there, and a lot of articles about wedding photography that were written when digital photography was in its infancy. Most people by now know what a RAW file is – it’s a file format most photographers use when shooting digital images because it retains a ton of data. Unfortunately those files are ugly and almost always need some level of post production. If I show you an image on the back of my camera you’re not seeing a RAW file, you’re seeing a JPEG preview which always looks better. So why don’t we just shoot in JPEG? Well RAW gives me many more options as an editor than a JPEG file, and I’d rather have those options even if I have to sacrifice speed. You should hire a photographer because you like their photographs and their editing style. Our unfinished work (RAW files) is never delivered to our clients, only finished edited JPEGS. Continuum Photography retains the copyright to all images we shoot. As a client all that means is you cannot take the images from your wedding day and alter them, or sell them for profit. We’ve yet to have anyone want to do either of those things. We do however provide you with a personal print release so you can have prints made wherever you’d like (prints through us are of course better…).
Should I back up my images when I get them, or toss them in the trunk of my car to bake in the heat for 3-4 years?
When you receive your images you should back them up in two spots at the very least. Legally we are absolved from responsibility once your images are delivered, but we do keep backups ourselves. We do understand the phenomenon of not wanting to have to think about wedding stuff after your wedding is done, but please remember to do this.
I saw this 545 item shot list on the Knot, do you want me to send you that?
Nope. The only list of shots we require are for family photographs, and we’ll send you a questionnaire to fill out for that a few weeks before your wedding. If your photographer needs a checklist to remember to be photographing important moments and details during the day then you’ve hired the wrong photographer. Furthermore if we have a clipboard in our hands checking things off then we don’t have a camera in our hands which means less things will be checked off the list. It’s a whole catch 22 sorta thing. We’ve shot a lot of weddings, and we know that weddings are organic – they follow a formula, but things happen on their own. The less forced we make it, the more amazing the photographs will be.
Are you insured?
Yep. We can totally burn down your venue with impunity. Well not total impunity, but we are insured.
Can I see a full wedding?
Sure – we will try and find you a gallery of a wedding that is similar in location and guest count to your own.
Can I have the personal telephone numbers, addresses, and social security numbers of your past clients so we can see if you’re legit?
Well we do respect the privacy of our clients, so if you need something beyond the website or full wedding gallery, check us out on Yelp, Wedding Wire, and Google and read our reviews.
How do you handle Pinterest? What if I want to show you a list of photos I want to recreate?
Melissa loves Pinterest – for me it’s one of the few things social media-wise I just haven’t had time to delve into. Our take on it is while we don’t mind seeing what you like, and what’s important to you – we want you to have unique images. We don’t want to directly copy other photographers, or even ourselves. You’re worth having a new take on your photos, and we’d like to provide you something that’s distinctly you.
Are all of these photographs on the website from you?
We have taken every photo on our website except for our bio image, which was taken by a friend but processed by us.
How will I get to show other people my photos?
You will have your own password gallery that you can share with others if you choose. Our clients are also provided a set of smaller web-ready files that can be shared online.
Do you take photos other than weddings and engagements?
Yes. We have some other sites too, check out our portrait site!
Will you hang out with us?
Totally. We like to go on hikes, bike rides, eat at Mexican food restaurants, get coffee at Starbucks, and see action movies. Let’s double date.
Isn’t being friends with your clients weird?
For us the more invested we are with our people, the better the photos. Not only that – but we’re friendly and we like to make new friends. We’re not your vendors, we’re your Mitchells.
There is a question that is not covered here. How can I find out the answer?
If you’re reading this before you’ve met us, jot down anything you’re wondering about and we’ll be happy to answer or make something up. If it’s after the meeting and we didn’t touch on it, just email us!
Will you reward me for reading this entire thing?
Yes. If you book us as your photographers and read the entire FAQ I will give you a small reward. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and put “I actually read the FAQ” in the title of the email and I’ll tell you what your prize is.