faq - Stephen Jennings Photography

Frequently Asked Questions

(And some not so frequently asked questions)


Will you travel to......?

Yeah, I'll travel anywhere. Literally anywhere; if you decided to get married on Bora Bora and just HAD to have me there, heck yeah I'd go. But locally, what I consider my typical boundary of shooting is about 3 hours in any direction from Portland, or the radius of Seattle. So that's practically everything, you got your beaches, mountains, deserts, valleys, lakes, rivers, canyons, waterfalls, volcanos, pretty much every major venue in the region .. you get the idea. I don't charge to travel because I actually love driving, I could drive and sing (horribly) for hours. And I love photographing, and have NO problem traveling to take some photographs - especially for weddings, I think you paid me enough to drive an hour, right? That's my philosophy anyways. 


What's your deal with black and white?

The photographs I take are in both black and white and color, I shoot in RAW so the file is just a big ol' box of information that I can pull everything out of. I shoot in black and white though, and sometimes when a bride sees my camera as I'm showing her an epic shot I just captured she exclaims "Oh no! I was hoping it would be in color!!" .... it is. I promise. I shoot in black and white because I'm weird and see light better when I'm not distracted by color. Since color can be changed in editing software with ease, but a perfectly exposed photograph and the perfect level of contrast and so forth cannot be done artificially .. I shoot in BW. In my opinion, it's why my photos can take on that "crisp" look. No, you'll probably never meet another photography who does this. I also generally prefer my photographs in black and white .. it's classic, timeless, and purely about the subject and the emotion of the subject. But that's my opinion. 


Do you shoot in RAW?

Duh, of course I do. 14bit uncompressed to be exact. For those that don't know what I'm talking about: RAW files are basically "digital negatives" of a photo, it stores a TON of information. This let's me edit in a way you simply cannot with a jpeg or tiff file, such as edit shadows and highlights, and edit a seemingly unlimited color spectrum in the photo. 


Can I have the RAW files?

No, you may not. 


What kind of gear do you shoot with?

I shoot with two cameras (I wear a goofy leather holster and duel-wield both cameras. Yes, I feel like a nerd and totally cool at the same time saying that). Camera 1 is a Nikon D800 - this is a 36mp high-res camera that I prefer for portraits and wide scenes. Camera 2 is a Nikon D750 - a 24mp camera adept at low-light scenes. This is used indoors quite a bit, and scenes with fast action like a first kiss since it shoots twice as fast.

Lenses I use..
My staple lenses I use most often: 
14-24mm f/2.8
35mm Sigma Art f/1.4
50mm f/1.4
85mm f/1.8
105mm f/2.8 Macro
70-200mm f/2.8 VRII 

Specialty lenses I use - I usually only bring one of these to weddings:
Zeiss 135mm f/2
Nikon 200mm f/2
Zeiss Otus 85mm f/1.4

Lighting equipment:
Two radio controlled Profoto B1 500ws Air's 
Or two radio controlled Broncolor Sirios 800s

Various other things come and go from my bag, but this is about typical for me.


How long does it take to get my wedding photos?

Generally speaking, as long as necessary. I edit every photo I deliver, and sometimes that can mean sorting through thousands of photos, editing, re-editing, posting the photos online, giving it a few days, going over and re-culling, re-editing, and repeating the process till they are as perfect as they can be. I have high standards, and editing takes a long time. An average wedding requires 20-40hrs of editing time, and with photoshoots, meetings, weddings, etc etc that may translate into those hours spread over a few weeks. 

Typical delivery times (these are estimates): 4 weeks for an average wedding, 5 with a second photographer. If the wedding is outdoors and the lighting was awful (like the aisle half in shade, half blaring sun) those can take a while to fix. If the wedding is indoors the color correcting on the lights will take fooorreevverrr .. 6-8 weeks for indoor weddings, unless the light isn't so bad. It varies wildly, and really it all comes down to light and what I need to do to make the photos look as natural and balanced as I can.


Pinterest......?

Yes. No. Hell no. Ok fine .. here's the thing with pinterest, and, well, with photography in general. You can't take one photo and say "do this" and expect it to be done - there are literally billions of variables that go into various scenes and photos - settings, gear, light, editing style, shooting style, quality of material, angles, etc etc .. none of which you can really tell from an edited photo, because you have no idea what it originally looked like. HOWEVER .. Pinterest boards a great insight for me to know what style you expect, what poses you like, and in general the feel you expect from photos. So.. I look at pinterest and think ah, I know what they like, I'll aim for this style. I don't even attempt to copy shots I see on Pinterest, or elsewhere, on the fly .. that's how Pinterest Fails are born.


Do I need to include a meal for you?

If you don't feed me, I promise, one or both of your mothers will try - relentlessly. I don't normally eat at weddings, I don't know why, I just don't. Some days, especially ones where I'm working 15hr days I'll probably eat. But if you don't want to feed me, whatever, I don't care, I bring cliff bars in case. Seriously, this is like the second most contested issue among wedding photographers (right after 'what's a real professional photographer' haha) - some photographers are extremely serious about their food, like no other industry out there - they want fed. It will be in their contracts. I don't put it in there because .. I think it's weird to demand food from someone, and really now it's not that big a deal. My second photographers however will often put it in their contracts with me, that I have to then pass on to you. You thought this would be a simple question, huh?


What do you wear?

I don't wear a suit, I don't even wear dress pants or shirt - I'm pretty open about this. If you rrreaaally have a restriction you need to let me know, otherwise, this is what I typically wear: A black t-shirt or henley if it's hot, a black overshirt if its not, or thermal if it's cold. Black skater chinos - yeah, skate pants - they look like normal chinos, only they're more elastic and not as tight, which is great for long days of walking, squatting, crawling, sitting, falling, you get the idea. Brown or black boots if it's outside, otherwise dark blue or black Vans. If it's outside in the fall or spring - orr winter - a black jacket of some variety. 

Why I dress like this and not in dress shoes, suite and tie. Because I don't put a time limit on my work. That's it really, it's kinda a trade off. If I was shooting for 6hrs I could wear a suit and carry my gear. But I average 12hr-14hr days for weddings, and I carry some serious gear - two cameras, 3 lenses, 16 batteries, two flashes at all times. I need to be comfortable, or I'll be a sad and hangry photographer for sure. I'm in black, I disappear in the crowd, I basically look like a stereotypical photographer. My second shooters have a pretty strict dress code though, so I don't have an uncivilized photographer try to show up in jeans. They wear black too.


Who and what are "Second Shooters"

These are people I employ during your wedding to shoot with me. They often have their own studio and photograph weddings as well - the ones I work with will most likely be trained by me, or at least show adequate proficiency to shoot like me. Most wedding photographers start as second shooters, some like me just jump headfirst into weddings, but most train, shadow, apprentice and second shoot with established studios. As the Principle photographer I shoot everything of great importance - second photographers are used as a spare lens, shoot from different angles, cover areas I can't be, usually covering the groomsmen as well. I don't include them in my package - it's an additional expense. Some people swear you need two photogaphers, this isn't true - I actually prefer to shoot alone most of the time, unless it's a large wedding where I need a second photographer to adequately cover the event. My Seconds are usually women as well, I feel it's nice to have a contrasting perspective and such.


Are you insured?

Yes, I am. Many venues will actually require vendors be insured - I carry a $2m liability policy and indemnity policy. If a vendor asks for proof of insurance I am happy to provide the documents. 


What's the difference between printing from the gallery and printing my own files you give me?

Short answer: Nothing. Long answer: Everything.  The files I provide you are original resolution, top quality, 300dpi/ppi images that you can print anywhere and they should look awesome. DO NOT print my photos at walmart, walgreens, or costco .. I will drive over there and confiscate your USB. Just joking, but really, be kind, don't print there. Using a lousy printer to print high quality photos like mine .. it's like watching 4k UHD on an old projection TV. It will lead to bad color - horrid green colors - and orange - uhg - and loss of quality. Then in 5 years you'll notice the photos are yellow and brown and think WTF happeend to my photos!? .. Walmart, that's what happened. My photos are printed on chemical free archival papers - they last nearly a century - they have embedded color profiles so they print exactly as they are on my calibrated monitor - the colors, details, and over all richness is second to none.  

If you don't want to order from the gallery, I suggest printing from mpix.com - nearly the same quality you get from the gallery (I still can't guarentee color accuracy since I'm not ordering the prints - but they should look excellent)


Do you have a reduced price without an engagement session?

No. Unless you're from out of state, and it simply can't be done. Otherwise the engagement session is vital, honestly, it is, to connect and get used to me photographing you. AND, I mean come on, I have NO restrictions on where to take them - get some awesome photos of you and your fiance somewhere awesome! Why would you ever turn that down?


How many weddings have you shot?

Someone, somewhere, must have made a blog telling couples this is the most important question because EVERYONE is asking now. I have no idea, I've never kept count and I'm not terribly motivated to go back and count. It's kind of a weird question anyways - I know photographers that have shot for 20 plus years, hundreds of weddings, and photos are, well, not too good. Or the plethora of 'craigslist wedding photographers' that have sizable portfolios and little skill.. numbers mean nothing when it comes to technical skill, the amount of money and time invested, and artistic ability. So let's just say "a few dozen" and move on.


Why is it raining ping-pong balls at your office?

Early last spring a client was struck in the head with a ping-pong ball. Came from the sky. Last month another unsuspecting fella was struck in the head with a ping-pong ball .. it too came from the sky. My 'office' for lack of a better word, is a building filled with entrepreneurs, small businesses, tech startups, creatives like myself and other more established businesses. To keep us happy the building provides games, couches, and beverages like coffee and beer (which you're welcome to sample next time you stop by). There's a pingpong table questionably placed at the top of the stairs on the 3rd floor with nothing to stop ping-pong balls from falling onto unsuspecting people's heads. It only seems to happen to people visiting me though.


Do you attend rehearsal dinners?

Yes! As long as I'm not booked with another client that day, I make every effort to attend.


Do you photograph same-sex couples?

Yes! Marriage is a celebration of love, and love knows no arbitrary boundary. If you have a problem with your photographer photographing same-sex couples, I strongly suggest finding another photographer. 

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