Tel: 651-644-2184




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How to Choose a Studio

Choosing Your Wedding Studio:

Here are three great ways to put a potential wedding photographer to the test. (how good are they?)

1.Google their name ...does it come up at all? Just a little or is it on pages and pages? If they come up on lots of pages that means they have really made their mark in this world and they have made important contributions as photographers. (They might even be famous!)

2. Date test. Look at a recent calendar and pick a random Saturday. Pick one date that YOU picked ~ not the photographer.

a). Ask the photographer if they worked that day? (If they are good they are in demand. If they aren't good they probably didn't work that day.)


b). Ask for the name and contact info for THAT random bridal couple. (This way they can't just hand you only the "good" referrals and you can ask that particular couple how they liked the photographer).

"Everything was up front and open with no surprises. Everything that was said would be done was done! Reminders and timelines were helpful too. Joel was very flexible and open to change on the spot."

~Heidi & Peter Brady

3. Credentials. "Award winner" is not a credential. Everyone has won a ribbon at the local fair. Look for "Master Photographer." There are not many around. Why? Because it is a degree that takes 20 years to get and most photographers never achieve. It is a difficult to get, internationally recognized degree. It is a consumer reports AAA+ rating, your assurance of quality. (More about this on Steve's Credentials)

"Winner of State wedding album competition." This means the photographer beat out everyone in the State so they must be pretty good. "National Loan Collection" is an extremely elite level of selected images that most photographers never achieve. "Kodak Gallery Award" is another prestigious award given by Kodak that separates photographers a lot. "Work selected for display at Epcot Center in Disneyworld" means the image is among the 100 top images taken in America. This is another elite award.

These awards really mean something and can help you ask the questions that separate the so-so photographers from the phenomenal one. If you use consumer reports why not use these consumer reports to help you in your selection? Why settle for less especially since the best usually DOESN'T
cost more?

"I love the attention to detail that was put forth - shots of rings with program, the head table, flowers, the rings with the detail of my dress as a backdrop....these ended up to be some of my favorite shots and many commented ...that's cool and unique. At first prices seemed high, but when I compared what my friends received (from their photographer at another studio), I realized I got more for my money! I am overall pleased and glad that I found your studio. I only wish I found you sooner as many of my friends are already married and missed out!" ~ Greg and Jaci Van S.

Joel suggested many shots beyond the pre-planned ones (i.e. grandmas and extended family, etc). He was so calm and patient.

~Mary K. Anderson (mother of bride…Jonathan & Jill Reeves)



More considerations:

Avoid a studio that has more than two or three photographers. Many photo studios are photo schools in disguise. The photographer at your wedding will probably be "in training to learn wedding photography" at YOUR wedding with these studios.

Look for a studio that has a balance of traditional and photojournalism styles. Too much of one style will eliminate an important part of your day. Just like your high school yearbook has both candids and formal portraits ... consider a balanced style to show story telling images AND the most flattering portraits as well. This way you can see exactly how each person looked in their best light and also who they are as a person.



LOOK for the difference! Double lighting, groupings, studio backdrop, an extremely creative eye. These are important to have!

"Thank you so much for the outstanding job you did at our wedding. We had so much fun with you. So many people at the wedding commented on what a fabulous job you did. Wedding photographers face a tremendous amount of pressure and I must say, you handle it very well. Thank you so much for being a part of our wedding. You gave us a gift that will last a lifetime and beyond…visual memories of cherished moments. Thank you with heart felt appreciation." ~ Bryan and Sara



Reputation is important. How long has the studio been in business? Studios are springing up like dandelions with the advent of digital photography and photojournalism. The standards of quality have become muddy ... because of these factors.

Studios come and go quickly because many jump in, realize how much work is involved and how intense the responsibility is to photograph weddings. These studios come and go and make life complicated for couples that may book the new rookies before they see the solid and professional veterans.


"Thanks... for your artistry"
~ Carina Caponi


We get calls on a weekly basis in the busy season from tearful brides that ask if we are booked for THAT WEEKEND! Many rookie studios fold overnight and dump their brides with little notice.

We have been thrilling and delighting our brides since 1971. We are happy to provide references and if you ask around, our reputation speaks for itself. Many bridal shops feature our work!

Look for innovation. We can actually show you the images we shoot as we shoot them at your wedding. Imagine how secure you will feel seeing first hand that we are doing a perfect job for you. If anything or anyone isn't looking perfect, you can see it right away and it gives you creative control of your photographic results.


We also offer images hosted on the internet so all of your friends and family can experience your wedding images at the same time. We can generate black and white, hand colored, sepia and special effect imagery to give your images the ultimate look. We can create montage magazine style albums that will make your friends jealous. (Ask for details about these innovations. This service is optional and may not be always available.)

Look for a full time, full service studio. Service doesn't mean much to clients until they don't receive any. Avoid studios that are part time photographers working out of their home.


Insist on seeing just the photography of the actual photographer you are considering.

DO NOT let a studio show you a book of all their photographers mixed together. Then you are looking at a box of chocolates and you never know what you are going to get.

Come in for a FREE 10-minute crash course in photography ... it's the only one in town and it is astonishing!

"Dear Steve, Thank you very much for your help during our engagement and wedding photographs. We really treasure all the excellent shots you were able to capture with your expertise! We look forward to having you do future family photographs for us! Thanks again very much! ~ Len & Molly Lopez

You will receive a high-resolution DVD of your wedding images! We understand that nowadays, people want the capabilities of e-mailing images to friends and family everywhere and then can print up what they want at their leisure, so we have made this available to all of our clients!

Does it really matter how many photographers are on staff?

Wedding photography is a lot like certain other professions. It is like being an airline pilot, a heart surgeon or a midwife. How many mistakes are allowed in these professions? NONE! They are all zero tolerance professions. There are no Federal or State boards that control wedding photography. You could become a wedding photographer tomorrow by simply having business cards printed up. Think of how complicated it is to become a pilot or doctor! There is a reason for that. Huge pain and suffering is caused by a doctor or pilot that makes a mistake. There is also huge pain and suffering caused by a wedding photographer that blows a wedding or does an extremely poor job.

I think we should call large groups of photographers what they really are. They are "photo schools" where the rookies learn from their mistakes at your wedding! The people that run these unscrupulous studios are what we call "parachute salespeople." They promise you "a blue sky" and when the chute doesn't open and you crash and burn ... "oh well."

We thought we could run a studio like this for a short time. We didn't like it at all. I don't see how anyone in good conscience could run a studio like this. We believe that only a highly trained professional with at least 15+ years experience should be in this business. The two photographers on our staff have 53 years experience combined! One of them is a Master Photographer, winner of the MN state wedding album competition and had their work shown at Epcot Center and Disneyworld. Why settle for less when you can have the very best? Especially when we don't cost more than the rookies do! One of the most amazing tricks these places pull on clients is to have all their work in ONE book at the studio. This way you never have an idea of what or who you are going to get. Many photographers are like a box of chocolates ... you never know what you are going to get!

"Thank you so much for the wonderful job you did at our wedding ... You were both very sincere in your concern for our satisfaction and we will refer everyone we know to you. Please extend our gratitude to Steve and everyone else who helped us during this process. You are the kind of people who we enjoy seeing succeed because you are sincere and client oriented. Thanks again for everything!" ~ Letty and Jason Van Ert

Call us at 651-644-2184 or e-mail us at or. We would love to chat with you and help you have a fantastic wedding day! ~Steve

Check out our wedding guide ~
How to have the perfect wedding ... ideas you won't find anywhere else!
and then call us at 651-644-2184 to book your wedding date!
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