Will you take any posed photos at our wedding?

Yes. I always encourage couples to set aside 20-30 minutes for posed portraits with their family and close friends. These are typically shot at one location for speed and simplicity. If lighting is not ideal or there are too many harsh shadows, don’t fret, I have got some high-powered strobes that will make it look great.

I recommend that couples that are all right with seeing one another before the ceremony take some of that time to get the portraits out of the way. This leaves you with plenty of uninterrupted time after the ceremony to mingle with all of your guests, and they will appreciate it. In cases where couples do not see each other before the ceremony, family portraits are typically done soon afterwards.

Do you provide wedding cinematography or videography?

Currently, I focus exclusively on wedding photography. For wedding cinematography, head on over to QT Films and check out their work.

Do you work with an assistant or second shooter?

Only when absolutely necessary. Hear me out: I prefer to work alone and steer couples towards this decision whenever possible. My style gives me the flexibility to take a range of shots without additional support. Depending on a wide range of variables, I am either never in one place for longer than an instant, or camping out at a single location waiting for the perfect wedding moment to complement the great light and composition that just caught my eye. This also translates to delivering consistent-looking photos and sidesteps the problem of providing you with an excessive and overwhelming number of images that look too similar.

Another very important reason is the discreet and intimate nature of my wedding photography. I pride myself on being able to blend into the crowd, which means that my presence has a minimal impact on the way your guests behave around and react to me. This allows me to capture images that other more invasive photographers simply can’t achieve. My intimate approach to wedding photography means that everyone wins: for you, great images; for your guests, an experience not tainted by the intrusive and distracting presence of an overzealous photographer.

However, there is a situation in which a single photographer is not enough: when both parts of a couple want to document their pre-ceremony preparations but are separated by too much distance and not enough time. Beyond that, the duration of their stay is determined by your preference and budget.

Do you offer engagement photography?

I do not offer engagement photos and most of my clients do not request them. The most common approach to engagement shoots – or “e-sessions”, in photo lingo – is highly posed and directed. As you’ve just read in the previous answer, this is something I discourage.

Many wedding photographers try to sell you on the idea of engagement photos by claiming that the process helps you become comfortable with both the photographer and with having your pictures taken. As the theory goes, this will make you more relaxed and photogenic on your wedding day. This can’t be further from the truth and the proof is in the timeline. With many wedding photographers, engagement shoots occur months—and sometimes a year or more—ahead of the wedding day. With such great spans of time separating the two events, there is no residual “camera comfort” remaining.

With regards to being photographed, there are three types of people: those that are comfortable being photographed, those that can be trained to become comfortable, and those that will never be comfortable. Unobtrusive photojournalistic wedding photography is universally great at capturing all of them without relying on the upsell of engagement shoots.

Can you describe your wedding photography style?

My style is formally called photojournalistic wedding photography or wedding photojournalism. There’s even an official organisation called the WPJA. It takes the hands-off, documentary approach of photojournalism and applies it to wedding photography. Throw in a good eye for lighting, meticulous composition, and the patience necessary to catch a meaningful moment, and the result is the beautiful and intimate wedding photography found on this website. My goal is to capture the real emotive moments of the day—yours, your family’s, and your friends’—not just what you looked like wearing the latest and greatest. Ultimately, trends and looks will go out of style, but the fleeting moments that represent our relationships, love, and humanity will not. It is my aim to preserve them for a lifetime.

In-depth: My Approach to Documentary Wedding Photography

More: What to Expect from Photojournalistic Wedding Photography

Are you willing to travel? Will you photograph our destination wedding?

Definitely. Regional travel to locations more than 90 kilometres from Pavel Kounine Photography is subject to a fee of $0.55/km, which is charged both ways. Destinations that exceed two hours driving time each way may require overnight accommodations. Please inquire.

There is a separate package for destination wedding photography. This fee includes both the work and time incurred during the travel portion. Airfare, accommodation for 2-3 nights, travel expenses, meals, transportation, and local photography permits (if required) are additional.

Here’s one example of my destination wedding photography.

Where can we find wedding photography reviews written by your former clients?

You can read reviews by some of my former clients on Google, Facebook, and Yelp. Also, make sure to check out my wedding photography testimonials

In-depth: Benefits of Wedding Photography Reviews

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What is your wedding photography payment structure? Do we have to pay a retainer?

Your wedding date is reserved after signing the photography agreement and paying a retainer for 50% of the fees. The balance is due 14 days before your wedding date.

Since I will reserve the time agreed upon and will not make another reservation for the specific period, retainers are non-refundable even if the date is changed or cancelled for any reason.

In-depth: Wedding Photography Retainers & Payments

How far in advance should we reserve our wedding date?

I recommend reserving your wedding date as soon as you decide that I’m the right wedding photographer for you. Booking early has the benefit of providing you with the ease of mind of having secured your preferred photographer, which means that you’ll have one less thing to worry about.

In-depth: The Best Time to Hire a Wedding Photographer

Can you hold our wedding date before receiving the retainer and wedding agreement?

Unfortunately, I can’t do this.

In-depth: Right of First Refusal in Wedding Photography

How many photos do you usually deliver?

I’m a quality over quantity type of guy. With that in mind, you will receive between 150 to 250 edited photographers for a wedding of typical length (between 8 – 12 hours). There are various factors that contribute to where your wedding would fall in this range and I’d be happy to discuss this with you during our meeting. But rest assured, the photos you do receive are carefully curated and lovingly edited to tell the visual narrative of your wedding day. If you have any lingering doubts that it’s enough photos, I’d be happy to show you what 200 prints looks like in person—it’s quite overwhelming, actually. 

Will you be editing our photos?

I personally edit every single photograph that is sent to you and do not outsource editing to third-party vendors. Unlike some photographers who edit using general presets, I process each image individually to suit the composition. Additionally, when a secondary wedding photographer is hired to provide supplementary coverage, the images they photograph are edited by me.

When editing images, I eschew trends and aim for a pleasing recreation of the ambient light and colour present during each scene. This can involve adjustments to colour balance, contrast and tone, clarity (micro contrast), sharpness, cropping, and conversion to black and white (if applicable). Minor retouching may be done at my sole discretion and is limited to a blemish here and there, exclusive to the couple only. Professional retouching is beyond the scope of my service and abilities.

In-depth: Post-Processing Trends in Wedding Photography

Are the digital images included in your wedding photography packages high resolution, printable, or watermarked?

All of the digital photographs you will receive as part of your wedding photography package will be delivered as hi-res JPEGs and uncompressed 16-bit TIFF files. The images will not be watermarked and will be ready for printing.

Can we purchase the RAW images?

No. Like most wedding photographers, I don’t release RAW versions of my work. All digital work is delivered as high-quality JPEG image files and, new for 2017, uncompressed 16-bit TIFF format files.

Do you use flash, strobes, or artificial lighting?

I try to avoid using flash. Although the philosophy behind photojournalistic wedding photography does not restrict its use, my personal preference is to avoid relying on such tools until it becomes absolutely necessary. I have a few reasons for this: using flash calls attention to the wedding photographer; it distracts you and your guests; it changes the quality of light and records a false ambiance; and it can be painful to dark-adjusted eyes. Despite all of the above, I always come prepared! A set of professional strobe lights is always with me in case I need to do something extreme, such as illuminate a winter solstice wedding held in a north facing castle that sits in a sunless valley and has one functioning light bulb. By the way, if you’re ever considering a wedding at such a fantastical location, please give me a shout—I’d love the opportunity to photograph it.

Who selects the photos in our album?

Being a full-service wedding photographer, I will provide you with a soft proof featuring artist picks, i.e., the selection of the images I believe best represent the documentary narrative of your wedding day. My initial design is by no means the final decision; it is meant to save you the time and headache of designing an album from scratch. You are encouraged to make any suggestions such as image swaps, rejections, or suggesting images that didn’t pass my consideration. I will always confirm the final design with you for approval before sending everything to Queensberry for printing and binding.

In-depth: Queensberry Wedding Albums

How long after the wedding do we receive our photos or album?

Please allow 4-6 weeks for photos to be delivered. As for albums, that depends on the complexity of the package, which ranges from 2 to 3 months.

Who owns the copyrights of the images you photographed at our wedding?

I retain full ownership and copyright to the original works. You will receive a license for personal use, such as printing and web publication. You provide me with the right to use images of your likeness for online and print publication and advertising, and other various uses.

In-depth: Promotional Use and Sharing Wedding Photography

What kind of photography equipment do you use?

In autumn of 2016, I switched to Fujifilm’s camera system. Here’s what I currently use to photograph weddings:

  • 2x Fujifilm X-T2 cameras
  • Fujifilm X-PRO2 camera
  • Fujifilm XF 16mm f/1.4 R WR Lens
  • Fujifilm XF 23mm f/1.4 R Lens
  • Fujifilm XF 35mm f/1.4 R Lens
  • Fujifilm XF 56mm f/1.2 R Lens
  • Fujifilm XF 90mm f/2 R LM WR Lens
  • Fujifilm XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR Lens

I photograph weddings with three cameras (and thus, three lenses) on my body at all times; the unused lenses are tucked away in a Canadian made Nanuk 935 hard case (highly recommended). I work hard to avoid flash photography; however, for situations that require it, I always have my ProFoto D1 1000 and ProFoto D1 500 studio strobes and Paul C. Buff Vagabond Lithium Extreme battery on standby.

In-depth: My Wedding Photography Equipment (out of date, but worth the read)

Opinion: Wedding Photography Gear Doesn’t Matter

Do we need to provide you with a meal at our wedding?

Yes, please. It’s a long hard day and by the time dinner starts my tank is usually empty. With that in mind, a vegetarian meal is requested for wedding photography commissions lasting six hours or longer. Please treat me like a guest and have me seated accordingly; this will help me to spring into action as quickly as possible whenever I sense that a great wedding moment is about to occur.

What is the etiquette for tipping wedding photographers?

I do not accept tips and believe that tipping is something the industry needs to stop encouraging. With exception to waiters and servers, most wedding service providers set their own prices as per their business objectives or freelance contracts (if they’re contracted by the company you hire). Merchants that expect or subtly encourage tips to bolster their bottom line should reconsider their pricing strategies. If you’re delighted with my performance on the day, consider writing a review of your experience on Google, Facebook, and Yelp.

Opinion: Tipping Wedding Photographers

So is it Paul or Pavel?

Whichever you’re better at pronouncing. However, my wife and friends call me Paul. :-)