Below I've compiled a list of frequently asked questions so, you could get answers to common questions professional wedding photographers get asked a lot. Instead of browsing all questions and answers, you may click on any one of the sections in the “Index of common questions” for a shortcut to the category Q&A. This page will be updated with new information periodically. If you have a wedding related question that was not discussed in this page, shoot me an email via my contact page. I'll be more than happy to answer it for you!

1. PHOTOGRAPHY STYLE AND PHILOSOPHY

WILL WE BE A GOOD FIT FOR EACH OTHER?

YES If you are crazy excited about spending your wedding day with the ones you love. Seeing you two wildly in love and enjoying your special day at its best, plays to my strengths. I will be there to capture all the tears, laughter and hugs, and I won’t miss the beat.

NO If you characterize yourself as being ‘obsessed’ with fashion portraits and small details. I most likely won’t photograph your rings, wedding dress, mason jar or bouquet. And if you really into it all, go ahead, and still give me a shout- I would be more than happy to recommend some amazing wedding photographers in Madison, WI area who do it well. See a blog post about a handful of reasons why you shouldn’t hire me as your wedding photographer here.

ARE YOU LGBT FRIENDLY WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER?

Yes! I believe, that love commitment between same-sex couple is as beautiful as commitment between woman and man. I support same-sex marriage and believe that same-sex couples should be able to get married, create families, raise kids and live happily ever after. So yes, I am lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer friendly Madison, Wisconsin wedding photographer.

WHAT IS YOUR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY STYLE?

I am documentary wedding photographer AKA wedding photojournalist. And as documentary photographer I produce honest, objective and candid photography of your wedding day. I do not control or manipulate the scenes I am witnessing. When capturing wedding day story, I approach events without predefined judgment and expectations. This wedding photography approach helps me to craft imagery that is full of raw, truthful emotions, radiates uniqueness and shows real you.
For more information about other common wedding photography styles, read my blog post >>HERE<<

CAN WE GIVE YOU A LIST OF “MUST HAVE WEDDING PICTURES”?

My biggest tasks are to you let you enjoy your wedding day at its best and show your wedding day story at its finest. And while extensive while picture list might seem like a good idea, I strongly discourage my wedding couples from giving me one. Because that wedding picture list would be counterproductive to the work you’ve seen here on my website. Think about it: you hired your wedding photographer for their strengths. And unless those strengths are re-creating someone’s else pictures, what you’re really doing is the list is wasting your wedding photographer’s talent. And you’re definitely not getting what you’ve paid for.

lesbian couple kissing after their same sex wedding ceremony in Madison, WIJessie and Taylor after their same-sex wedding ceremony in Black Rock Desert, NV

2. WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY PRICING

WHAT IS THE AVERAGE COST OF WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY IN MADISON, WI AREA?

In Dane County, Wisconsin you can expect average wedding photographer cost to run anywhere between to $2,500-$4,800 for 7-8 hour basic coverage. Pricing will depend on the experience of your photographer along with what’s included in your wedding package. Adding extras such as 2nd photographer, extra hours, or professional quality wedding album, will add to the wedding photography cost.

WHAT WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY PACKAGES DO YOU OFFER?

My fully customizable wedding photography packages are conveniently designed to fit any wedding couple’s needs and wedding photography budget. You can see current wedding photography packages I offer >>HERE<<
For destination wedding photography (outside of Midwest) pricing inquiries, please shoot me a message via contact form.

3. ENGAGEMENT SESSIONS

WE WANT TO BOOK AN ENGAGEMENT SESSION ONLY. CAN WE DO THAT?

While engagement session is conveniently designed as an option in most of my wedding photography packages, you sure can book an engagement photography services separately. For more details, please see a la carte options on my wedding photography pricing page.

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO SEE OUR ENGAGEMENT PHOTOS?

Normally I post couple sneak peek pictures on my Instagram and Facebook wedding pages within day or two. You should expect full gallery with engagement session pictures within 1-2 weeks after the photoshoot date.

HOW LONG OUR ENGAGEMENT SESSION WILL LAST? HOW MANY IMAGES WILL WE BE GETTING?

Engagement sessions I photograph normally last about 1 hour. I typically deliver around 20-40 final color enhanced high-resolution images.

DO YOU HAVE IDEAS FOR OUR ENGAGEMENT SESSION LOCATION?

When it comes to recommending activities or locations for an engagement session I usually suggest keeping it simple. Where do you like to spend your time together? How your average day together looks like? Where did you meet? Where and how proposal happened? Do you go for a walk with your dog? What’s your favorite spot in Madison, Wisconsin?
Nothing shows real you and tells your love story better than regular, everyday activities.

WHAT SHOULD WE WEAR/ NOT TO WEAR DURING OUR ENGAGEMENT SESSION?

When it comes to recommending what to wear during the engagement session, my biggest advice is pretty simple and straightforward: wear clothing you would normally wear and you feel comfortable in. In fact, same advice applies for the wedding day, headshot photography or any other photography.
Normally, I recommend staying away from any clothing that has logos, letters, numbers. For variety of color palettes and clothing ideas, please see my Pinterest board.

bride and groom on a bench photographed by Madison Wisconsin wedding photographersAlice and Brook on a bench in Livingston Inn, Madison, Wisconsin garden during their engagement session.

4. WEDDING DAY

WILL YOU BRING A 2ND PHOTOGRAPHER?

While on your wedding day I normally am one man wolf pack, I do offer wedding photography packages for larger or logistically complicated weddings, that have two wedding photographers. Having an extra pair of hands helps to photograph your wedding from two different locations simultaneously and adds another perspective to your wedding day coverage. Having a 2nd photographer is helpful in case of emergency as well.

DO YOU TAKE POSED FAMILY PHOTOS ON A WEDDING DAY?

Sure thing! While I do specialize in moment driven wedding photojournalism, I still value family pictures and wedding portraits. During our final pre-wedding consultation, I ask bride and groom to put together a list for posed family images in writing. I also ask to assign couple people who know families well, to help me put groups together during family pictures.

Please bear in mind that, the while important, family pictures shouldn’t dominate your wedding day. Because extensive wedding family picture list not only is counterproductive to the work you’ve seen here on my website, but it also will interfere with you spending quality time with family and friends.

HOW MUCH TIME DO WE NEED FOR POSED WEDDING DAY PHOTOS?

For wedding day photos, we will need around 1-1.5 hour. And it mostly depends on size of the bridal party, how big is your family picture list is, etc. On average, I need around 30-45 minutes for family photos and another 15-30 minutes to photograph bridal party. And I will need another 15-30 minutes for bride’s and groom’s wedding portraits.

DO WE GET CHARGED FOR THE DOWNTIME BETWEEN EVENTS ON OUR WEDDING DAY?

Short answer is, yes. For a variety of reasons, wedding photography packages I offer have continuous wedding coverage. In reality, as a wedding photographer, I really don’t have downtime. There’s always things to do: taking pictures at the reception venue, traveling to another location, backing up images, etc. Even during the dinner, when it seems things slow down for me, I usually am preparing for the first dance and setting up my lights.

WILL YOU TAKE A PICTURE OF EVERY WEDDING ATTENDEE?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. During live or unstaged event such as wedding, this kind of wedding photography coverage would simply turn into a factory of headshot photography that wouldn’t contribute to the real feeling of your wedding day. Moments, light and composition are things that I usually am drawn to during my wedding photography coverage.

CAN OUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY TAKE PICTURES WITH THEIR PHONES OR CAMERAS?

Sure thing! I do, however, ask friends, family and other wedding guest not swarm the family photography session right away. It helps to keep everybody’s eyes facing me and it helps to go through family pictures faster. The can take pictures in the background.
Also, when working with bride and groom on their wedding portraits, I normally send bridal party away. It helps to keep portrait session distraction free.
I strongly recommend asking wedding guests to keep cell phones and cameras down during your wedding ceremony.

WHAT HAPPENS IF WE NEED TO OVER THE CONTRACTED AMOUNT OF TIME? CAN YOU DO THAT?

I get it: not everything goes as planned on a wedding day. And sometimes, my time’s up, but things that were supposed to happen (and be documented) way earlier, still haven’t happened. I always touch base with bride and groom before my departure to make sure everybody is comfortable with me taking off. And if turns out, you folks want me to stay for longer, I have no problem with that. I never pack up and leave on the dot, when the contracted time is up, anyway. And short notice for overtime works just fine. As it comes to pricing, normally, my most current main wedding photographer coverage will be applied for overtime. Overtime will be rounded to the closest 30-minute increment.

bride is tearing up while grandfather holding her cheeks during family farm weddingJackie with her grandfather during family farm wedding near Green Bay, Wisconsin

5. TECHNICAL/ POST PRODUCTION

HOW MANY WEDDING IMAGES WE WILL BE GETTING?

I know, some other professional wedding photographers might give you over a thousand wedding photographs. But when it comes to my wedding picture galleries, I am a strong believer in quality over quantity. And I hope we’re on the same boat. So, you can expect to receive 250-500 high-resolution, vibrant, images processed in my signature style.
And final number of high-resolution JPEG files delivered to my wedding clients, normally depends on many factors such as length of the wedding coverage, photographic opportunities, weather conditions, venue restrictions, amount of wedding guests, etc. Please understand, that every wedding is different and I that photograph each wedding to my best ability.

CAN WE GET RAW FILES FROM OUR ENGAGEMENT SESSION AND/OR WEDDING DAY?

I typically do not provide RAW (unprocessed) files from the weddings and engagement sessions I photograph. Main reason being, that it really is an unfinished product. In certain scenarios, I give RAW files to my commercial clients (that know how to properly handle RAW files), in order to make their post-processing easier.

HOW BIG CAN WE PRINT OUR WEDDING PHOTOS FROM OUR HIGH-RESOLUTION WEDDING PHOTOS?

In most cases, you can print your wedding day images up to 16×24 without any quality loss. If you run into situation where print needs to be larger, additional post-processing will be required. Contact me for JPEG enlargement pricing.

Final edited high-resolution JPEG files you will be receiving, normally are around 6000×4000 pixels.

DOES EVERY PICTURE WE GET UNDERGOES POST PROCESSING?

Yes, it does. Every wedding picture my wedding client see and get undergoes careful selection and post processing. This involves exposure adjustment, cropping and straightening, white balance adjustments, color skin correction, clarity and contrast adjustments, etc. All done in my unique post processing style. Please note, that as a true wedding photojournalist, I am not allowed to manipulate pictures in any other more aggressive way.

DO YOU TAKE PICTURES IN COLOR OR IN BLACK AND WHITE?

While most of the wedding pictures my clients get are in color, small percentage of them will be in black and white. It all depends on many factors, such as light, time of the day, feel, color mix in the image, etc. I use my best professional wedding photographer’s judgement when making these decisions.

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO SEE OUR WEDDING GALLERY?

Normally, I put together small sneak peek wedding image gallery (with 40-60 pictures) within few days after your wedding. You should expect to see your full wedding gallery within 6 weeks after your wedding.

WHAT RIGHTS DO WE HAVE TO OUR DIGITAL WEDDING FILES?

You have the right to print and share your images witch friends and family. However, you are not allowed to sell your images for profit or publish your images without the written consent of Paulius Musteikis Photography Inc.

Madison Wisconsin wedding photographers photographing dancefloor in Madison Children’s MuseumEmily and Chris on the dancefloor during their Madison Children’s Museum wedding reception

6. EQUIPMENT AND PICTURE SAFETY

WHAT HAPPENS IF YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY EQUIPMENT FAILS DURING OUR WEDDING?

While bad things happen and camera/ lenses break during the weddings, it’s wedding photographer’s duty figure things out and continue going. Therefore, a true wedding professional, besides the photography equipment,  she/he is using already, will also have cameras and lenses for a backup. And will make sure your wedding files from your wedding day are safe and sound through the wedding day and properly backed-up after it’s all over.

ARE OUR WEDDING IMAGES SAFE? WHAT’S YOUR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY BACK-UP PROCESS?

There are several steps I take throughout and after your wedding day to make sure no wedding photographs are lost in the process. First of all, my cameras have dual SD card slots. And when the image is taken, the same file is duplicated to two separate cards to prevent image loss in case of memory card is corrupted. Throughout the day, images from the cards are backed up third time- GNARBOX Portable Backup system. In addition, two additional backups are done when I get to my studio (usually the same night, after the wedding). So, at any given point of the day, there are at least two copies of the files.

DO YOU HAVE LIABILITY INSURANCE?

I do indeed. Often, before the shoot, wedding venues and my commercial clients ask me for a proof of Liability insurance. I can access a copy on my cell require the photographer to have. Before you book, you should always make sure your wedding vendor is insured.
I also have separate insurance for my photography equipment, video equipment and drones.

OUR WEDDING VENUE IS VERY DARK. WILL YOU BE ABLE TO TAKE PICTURES THERE?

Dark venue usually won’t be an issue at all. That’s professional wedding photographer’s responsibility to figure it all out. Normally, if people are able to see things in the room, camera will be able to capture it. In Madison, Wisconsin I often shot in really dark venues, churches and reception halls. If flash photography is not allowed (some churches and chapels have this rule) I will skip the speedlight (flash) and for great low light performance use fast prime lenses paired with the newest mirrorless cameras on the market. Meow!

groom kissing the bride photographed by Madison Wisconsin wedding photographersJeff kissing Katrina after their Hubbard park wedding in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

 

7. BOOKINGS/ CANCELLATIONS

WE LIKE WHAT WE SEE. CAN WE JUST PAY YOU A RETAINER FEE?

I believe that initial meeting is a key element in making sure your wedding day goes without any unnecessary surprises. We’ll setup time for face-to-face or an online meet, we’ll learn more about each other and discuss your wedding day needs. In truth, I’ve never booked a wedding without having an initial meet with wedding couple.

IF WE CANCEL OUR WEDDING, WILL WE RECEIVE OUR RETAINER FEE BACK?

Unfortunately, the answer to this one is no. Retainer fee used to reserve your wedding day date is NON-REFUNDABLE. Once I receive it along with signed copy of the wedding photography contract, I do not accept new wedding photography clients for that particular date. In the event of wedding cancellation, retainer fee used to cover my wedding photography business loses.

DO YOU OFFER ANY DISCOUNTS FOR MILITARY, OFF-SEASON AND NON-SATURDAY WEDDINGS?

I don’t offer any discounts for military weddings. Discounts for off-season and non-Saturday weddings are available occasionally, but they are based on time of year, my travel schedule, and availability. If you have concerns about your budgetary needs, please let me know when contacting me.

WHAT IF WE RE-SCHEDULE OUR WEDDING TO A DIFFERENT DATE? WOULD WE BE ABLE TO USE OUR RETAINER FEE TOWARDS NEW DATE?

It depends. I would need to know into reason for rescheduling and my availability for a new date. Also, if I am able to re-book the initial wedding date with another wedding, I would consider partially refunding your retainer fee.
Keep in mind, that if my wedding photography rates changed since signing the wedding contract, new rates may be applied for the rescheduled date.

HOW DO WE BOOK YOU FOR OUR WEDDING?

Booking a wedding day is on a first-come, first-served basis. Once I receive a $995 NON-REFUNDABLE retainer fee and a signed copy of the wedding photography contract I cease all attempts to sell my wedding photography services for that particular date to other wedding clients. Retainer fee applies towards the final total of the wedding contract, with the remainder of charges payable in full, 30 days prior to the date of the wedding.

bride and groom exchanging their first kiss with wedding guest in the backgroundLaura and Ryan exchanging their first kiss during their barn wedding ceremony in Eastman, Wisconsin

 

8. OTHER

DO YOU COVER AREAS OUTSIDE OF MADISON, WISCONSIN?

But of course, I do! And while I am wedding photographer based in Madison, Wisconsin, and do most of my wedding coverage in Dane County, I also enjoy traveling outside of Madison. If your wedding location falls within 30 miles radius from Madison, there’s no additional driving fee. If your wedding location falls outside of 30 miles radius from Madison, Wisconsin, an additional driving fee of $1.25 per mile will be added to wedding package total.

DO YOU PHOTOGRAPH DESTINATION WEDDINGS?

While I am Madison, Wisconsin based wedding photographer, I definitely can to travel and photograph your wedding nationwide or worldwide if needed. While driving fee applies to weddings photographed in Midwestern US (Minneapolis/ Saint Paul, Chicago, Milwaukee, etc.), destination wedding photography services is a subject to custom quote. Destination wedding photography cost depends on variety of factors, including cost of travel, reasonable accommodations, rental equipment, etc. For destination wedding photography pricing inquiries, please send me a message via contact page.

WHAT IF YOU GET SICK AND UNABLE TO PHOTOGRAPH OUR WEDDING?

While it never happened to me, it’s sure a possibility. There are several options in this situation. In the scenario where you’ve got wedding photography package with two photographers, 2nd wedding photographer would take over the wedding photography.
If 2nd photographer wasn’t included in your wedding package, I would be reaching out to my local Madison, Wisconsin area wedding photographers network and would look for someone who matches my wedding photography style best and is available to photograph your wedding.

WHY WE DON'T SEE A BLOG POST ABOUT OUR WEDDING/ OUR FRIEND'S WEDDING?

There could be a few reasons for that. Sometimes blog post is not just because I am still missing some information from clients about the past event.
Also, since weddings are such intimate events, not everyone is comfortable with the exposure. Occasionally my clients request not to post any images from their wedding.
If your wedding is at late summer or fall, you most likely will have to wait until winter to see your love story up in my wedding blog.

James Madison Park wedding guests dancing backlit by bright afternoon sunCindy’s and Martin’s James Madison park wedding guests backlit by late afternoon sun

Have a question for an award-wining Madison Wisconsin wedding photographer that was not discussed in FAQ page? Need help with your upcoming wedding day timeline? Just email me directly or give me a call (608) 239-4199. I’d love to hear more about your wedding day and would be more than happy to answer any of your questions!
Madison Magazine‘s Best Of Madison Gold medal winner in Best Wedding Photographer category in year 2016 and year 2017.