For those about to wed, I salute you.
Every photographer has a different approach to your wedding day; mine is as straight-forward and honestly as possible, with a lot of love.
Do you do engagement sessions?
I love engagement sessions. They're a wonderful time for us to get to know one another, and for you to see what it feels like to be professionally photographed before your wedding. Plus, a lot of my wedding clients find their wedding days are largely about family; these are just for focusing on you.
Due to my wedding schedule, I photograph them exclusively on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays (very occasionally, there is an exception to this). They take place in Brooklyn or Manhattan, although other locations are available and may be subject to an additional travel fee.
Ideally, we aim to begin our session an hour and a half before sunset, so 3pm in the winter months, and as late as 7pm in the summer. This isn't a hard and fast rule, though, and if you have something unique you'd like to do, let's talk about it.
Clients are responsible for obtaining all location permissions and permits necessary. This generally only applies to shoots indoors on private property; we do not need a permission to shoot in Central Park or on the streets of NYC, etc.
Do you use a second shooter at weddings?
Sometimes. For weddings that are smaller and/or straightforward, I'm comfortable photographing them by myself. Others are larger and/or more complicated, with lots of logistics to consider; if that's the case, we'll have a second shooter. Either way, I always have an assistant with me, so there will be either two or three people from my team at your wedding.
Will you photograph our rehearsal dinner?
Rehearsal dinner photography coverage is a great addition, particularly for couples having destination weddings. You'll get warm, wonderful photos of your closest friends in family in a laid-back setting. You can add on this photography coverage, and will receive the photos along with your wedding day photos. Otherwise, I do not attend rehearsals.
Do you do black and white or colour?
Both, mostly colour. If you want more black and white, let me know. Images are ONLY delivered in either colour or black and white and can’t be converted either way afterwards.
Do you work with a shot list?
I will need a list of the family formals, and will ask for a list of special details you'll want captured that might be immediately apparent (such as a memorial brooch on your bouquet, or a new wedding tattoo, etc.) During your wedding day, I have a list of the usual things at the back of my head: shoes, rings, invitation, etc. so you need not worry about those. There is no need for an internet list that has "bride and groom together" on it, and I don't copy poses off of Pinterest.
How do we build our family formals list?
My big guideline is "don't leave out spouses". That includes each other. Sometimes couples want a few special photos without each other, like "Bride and Mom", but for the most part, you should stick together. After all, you're family now.
A few weeks before your wedding, we'll have a final list and go over everything together (we can do this over the phone or meet where I work in Manhattan.) I'll then re-write it in a an order that minimizes moving around and makes family photos go smoothly. On the day of your wedding, your family formals will be quick and fun (I swear!) and we'll make sure no one gets left out.
What's your wedding photography style?
I get asked this when couples come to me after reading articles that say you should make sure a photographer lines up with your ideal style of photography. If you read a few of these articles (there's a lot) you'll start to notice conflicting advice and maybe get overwhelmed. The reason it's so confusing is that this is become a bit of a tired concept while at the same time, styles have blended and definitions have morphed.
Here's why: ten to fifteen years ago, wedding photography became less stuffy, and more "genres" started to emerge. This is because digital cameras made starting a wedding photography business much easier, and younger people started to get into it - not to mention a lot more women. (Your parents and grandparents wedding photos were most likely photographed by men.) Suddenly wedding photography "styles" emerged, and people clung tightly to their definitions as the industry shifted dramatically.
Now, it's less of a "thing" for wedding photographers to have a strict style these days - I personally do a bit of everything, and I'm sure most of my colleagues will say the same - but there are a few distinct styles you can look out for.
1. "Photojournalist" vs. "Lifestyle"
Photojournalist means zero interference from the photographer. If there's a tampon box in the back of the shot while the bride is putting on her gown, that's that. Pure photojournalists view interfering with the shot as unethical, and I know of a few wedding photographers who stick to this traditional definition. Me? I'm going to send my assistant to grab that box and stash it elsewhere. At the same time, I won't make you smile and cheese for the camera while you are trying to have a meaningful conversation with your grandmother. When you put on our bowtie, I will photograph it as an organic moment happening, albeit one unfolding in a nicely lit place with a neat background. Some people call this organic styling "Lifestyle", and that's probably what I do for the majority of the day. I talk a little more about about this in my essay "When the Photo is Sacred."
3. "Traditional" and "Classic"
If my style majors in "lifestyle", I minor in "classic". I'm inspired by old portraits that are well lit and classically posed. Another word for this might be "timeless". Timeless is a funny word to use for wedding photography: there is no way to completely avoid your wedding photos being "dated" twenty years from now, of course. (One day, my own 2015 gorgeous "marsala and cream" bridal bouquet will be considered as un-vogue as my aunt's 1992 "pink roses and baby's breath" bouquet currently is.) However, I come to your wedding thinking about your children and grandchildren, and your eventual wall of family photos. My aim to leave you with images that will take their place in the collection of eight-by-ten framed shots on your wall, serving as a historical record for generations to come (generations who will probably laugh at your Warby Parker glasses.)
There's a loose "new fashioned" vibe to it, though. We'll take the shot of your full body in your wedding gown or tux, but you won't be instructed to stand there stiffly and smile while I get it. I want genuine smiles and organic movement.
Speaking of keeping real, I'm woke enough to know that "traditional" can sometimes feel like it's leaving some folks out, so I say "classic" and "editorial". We'll get photos that will look genuine and be cherished, no matter who you're marrying, what you're wearing, or what your gender expression is.
3. "Fine art"
More than any other wedding term, there's a ton of debate about what this means, but the definition I hear the most is when photographers use unusual angles and creative compositions to get the shot. I don't focus on this for the bulk of your wedding day, and choose to sprinkle it in here and there. Here's a fine art photo from from a recent wedding I really love.
We don't want our photos to look super stiff. How do you handle posing if someone is shy? What about LGBTQ couples? We hate posing, btw.
Honestly, me too. One of the most valuable reasons to have an engagement session is taking photos in a relaxed environment and learning how to be photographed professionally. We laugh and joke and smile during portraits - both at your engagement session and at your wedding - so your personality shines through. You’ll look back at your wedding photos and see two people in love, and this will be way more interesting to you than the cliche poses you might have seen elsewhere.
I typically allow couples to fall together into their own patterns the way they will naturally, and go from there. This works well for everyone, no matter what their orientation, height difference, etc. (Seeing these lovely patterns everyone has is the best part of my job!)
How do we get our photos, exactly?
You'll be emailed a digital gallery of your images that you can order your prints from. The set up is exactly like a typical online store, and you'll be able to share this link with friends and family so they can shop for prints themselves (read: you don't have to handle the ordering for everyone). On that same gallery, you'll also be able to click a button to download all of the .jpgs for sharing your photos via email, on Facebook, Instagram, etc.
Are the digital images we download watermarked?
No. Some photographers do this to make sure they get properly credited, but I've never had a client have a problem putting "photo by @AmberMarlow" on their Instagram photos. My couples are the best.
Do we have to order prints through you?
I hope that you do. The images I give you to download are meant for digital sharing.
That said, digital images should never be considered a final product (my irreverent - and possibly unprofessional - motto is "Flash drives make shitty heirlooms"). For those prints that you want to treasure, frame, and display in your home, I recommend you order through me, even little ones. A big box printer like Target or Costco will take all of the work I've done (and all of the money you've paid) hand-correcting every individual image and ruin it.
In my shop, you have a choice of luster prints (standard) or the fancy, luxurious deep matte prints. (The deep matte is what I have framed in my own home. They are amazing.)
To emphasize the importance of good prints, you'll find, in my store, that luster prints sized 4x6 and 5x7 are priced with zero markup - you pay what I pay.
Do you offer wedding albums?
Two, actually. I believe in wedding albums so much, as they are an important heirloom for your new family.
The Wedding Book is the original wedding album, and the one included in my collections. The images and white background are printed on luster photo paper that protects from fingerprints. The paper with the images is then mounted onto thick, acid-free substrate pages that resist bending and tearing. The result is a beautifully-bound album that will endure for years to come.
For something extra special, I offer the Marlow Signature Wedding Album, an album so gorgeous I put my name on it. The images are printed on smooth 100% cotton photo paper, then finished with a matte glaze to protect them without losing the character of the paper. Next, they are mounted by hand into acid-free photo mat pages. Finally, those pages are bound together, and a cover is added, for a stunning dimensional presentation that nods to vintage wedding albums while remaining modern. You can buy this album a la carte or upgrade your collection to replace the Wedding Book.
Both albums have several covers to choose from, both leather and vegan.
All of the albums I present to clients are designed by me. You're paying for my vision, after all, so this is something I don't outsource. After you get your wedding photos, I begin work on it immediately.
You can also add on a mini album for your parents, if you'd like.
Can we purchase an album after the wedding?
Yes. You can also purchase parent albums before or after the wedding. However, if you think you might want one, you're way better off getting one of my collections that includes an album, an engagement session, and wedding day coverage.
How many hours do we need?
In our initial meeting, we'll decide together what coverage right for you. This is a good thing to discuss with your planner if you have one (although I can help you, too).
How much do you cost?
Most couples select one of my collections that have an album and engagement session included, and offered together at a cost less than the individual items a la carte. These all inclusive collections begin at 4850.
More stripped down coverage begins at 3400, and I have lower rates for weekday weddings. On top of that, I have three incredible associate photographers that start at a lower price point.
How many photos do we get?
"Enough to tell the story" is the best answer I can give you. This is a hard question because the answer changes based on the timing of your day and the number of details and family formals. Roughly a few hundred. You will have enough images to make a beautiful album, though, and no one has ever been unhappy. I'm very attentive to details.
How long does it take to get our images back?
My contract says 6 weeks from your wedding day. I don't usually take that long.
Tech & Legal
Do you have backup equipment?
Yes. Extra lenses, extra cameras, and so, so many batteries. The cameras I use have dual slots for memory cards so I go home at the end of the night with two copies of your images. I also shoot with two cameras.
How do you keep our images safe? We've heard horror stories!
Beyond making two exact copies of your images when I am shooting them, I take other precautions, too. Your images never go on the subway or bus. The RAW files get backed up immediately when I get home from your wedding to a RAID 1 hard drive that then backs itself up to the cloud every hour. They're archived on yet another hard drive that I keep at a relatives house. On top of that, everything is backed up to a secure cloud based system, and I never delete the cards themselves until the images are delivered and you have your own copies.
This is probably overkill.
What is your process like?
I shoot RAW images on both memory cards. This allows me to process the photos exactly the way I would like. They are hand-corrected by me, with no batch edits or Instagram-type filters, using only professional software. For albums and large framed prints, I take it to the next level with a bit of Photoshop on the images (you won't be able to tell!) to make sure they are absolutely perfect. Your album will be filled with magazine-quality images. This is a source of great pride for me.
Can we have the RAW images?
No. It would be like a baker handing you a few layers cake and a tube of icing and telling you to "go for it", when what you asked for was a wedding cake. They're an incomplete part of the overall product you're paying me for. It's the RAW files, plus the processing after, that makes the image.
What gear do you use?
Professional level Canon cameras and lenses. I've been shooting a Canon camera since I was a teenager in the 90's, and my grandfather did, too. This makes me feel elderly.
Are you insured?
Yes. Please let me know at least two months in advance if your venue specifically needs a certificate of insurance. Some venues do, some don’t.
What about permits?
You are responsible for acquiring all photography permits needed on the day of the wedding. If it’s in NYC, I can usually point you in the right direction off the top of my head.
What if something happens to you on the day of our wedding?
I've never missed a wedding due to illness. I take shooting your wedding very seriously, of course, and would never "call out sick" unless there was a circumstance so extenuating it could not be helped. Should this happen, your wedding would be photographed by someone who matched my skill level.
When should we book you?
As soon as you know you would like me to be your photographer. To book, I need to receive from you a signed contract and a retainer. Without these things, I cannot hold your date.
Can you travel?
Being based in New York means that it's easy for me to travel just about anywhere on the planet. In addition to officially covering the Caribbean as part of my "regular beat", I can often be anywhere in the world, usually with just a few days notice. I handle my own air travel, accommodations, and ground transportation so you need not worry about it.
I read this whole thing!
You are very thorough. Well done, you! Let me know, and if you book, I'll add a $30 print credit to your order.