Describe your wedding photography style? You get dressed up, say your vows, party, dance and fall in love all over again. I take pictures. Documentary, photojournalistic, reportage, lifestyle, candid, ninja, whatever you want to call it. It means that I work as the proverbial “fly on the wall,” or, as the French say, "la mouche sur le mur." I think of it as reality-based photography (but not "reality" in the Kardashian sense. Don't get me started, you're better than that.) I don’t direct. I don’t work off of preconceived “must-have” shot lists. My passion is to capture your wedding and all of its glorious, messy reality.

What are your rates? Wedding photography rates for 2016 start at $3,000 for up to 5 hours of coverage by myself and an assistant photographer, digital image files with reprint rights and an online gallery. Goodies like engagement sessions and albums are, of course, available. Contact me for a complete price list.

We're terrible at having our pictures taken. What do you expect from your subjects?  Let’s be honest, no one except small children, supermodels and Donald Trump relish the chance to stand in front of a camera. It’s intimidating and parents have often conditioned us to always react in a certain, stiff way when the camera turns on us. Together, we can turn the tables on painful photography. I expect my clients to be open to the possibilities and trust that, with a little bit of time and effort, great images are possible. The photographic process is reciprocal. The energy you bring is nearly as important as mine.

Do you yell a lot and tell people what to do? No. I’m not a director, dictator or artiste. I’m a witness, if you will. My goal is to be as unobtrusive as possible. I aspire to be your own personal photo-ninja, quietly and tirelessly stalking “Kodak moments.” If you do need someone to yell at you, I’ll get your mother.

Are you "gay-friendly"? Damn shame you have to even ask, isn't it? I'm everyone-friendly. If you're in love, I'm in.

What about Photoshop? Don’t you love it when photographers trick out their images by making the color scream for mercy and the sky all yellow? If you haven’t sniffed it out yet, I’m a wee bit old-school. No question, Photoshop is an remarkable and intoxicating tool bordering on sorcery. Nevertheless, I believe your images should be timeless, now and 25 years from now. A strong image stands on its own. Over-processed images are going to show their age like a man-bunned mullet marinated in Axe body spray. Occasionally, yes, I get sucked in by the possibilities that Photoshop’s dark power offers. However, for the most part, like a good cook, I’m going to add just enough seasoning to accent the goodness that’s already there. Don’t be shocked though if you find the occasional jalapeño in the gumbo. Sometimes, I let my proverbial hair down.

Should I give you a “must-take” photo list from The Knot or Martha Stewart? Ummmm, no. Please.

Can you elaborate? Unless Martha is your wedding coordinator, her list or any other won’t be terribly relevant to your day. I’m aware of all the traditional wedding details and events that should be documented. I’ll even photograph most of them. If there are details or unique features of your wedding that you want to make sure I’m aware of, do make me a list of that stuff.

What about the formal group shots? I’ve heard you photojournalist types don’t like to do those. Does anyone really enjoy the formals? Ok, besides moms (Love ya, mom!). It’s the big, honking speedbump in the wedding schedule. We’ll document the family tree with the necessary group shots and portraits, of course, and I’ll try to make it as fun as possible. I know they’re out of fashion but I believe those straightforward family portraits are an essential part of the family record, a visual thread connecting each generation’s wedding pictures. Sure, your formals may not necessarily look bitchin’ today. But, 25 years from now, your kids will pull them out and marvel at how totally dorky, but oddly handsome, their parents were on their wedding day. All that said, my hope is to keep the formal picture count to a number that doesn’t kill the day’s momentum or the groom's will to live. If you’re thinking of, and actually looking forward to, 2-3 hours of group photos, then you might be looking at the wrong photographer. If you’d like some names of photographers who enjoy wailing, suffering and gnashing of teeth, I can help direct you to them with all due speed.

Why doesn’t Mark talk about himself in the third person? Mark will tell you it’s because of his unwavering modesty. You and I know it’s because he doesn’t know what third person is. (Get it? I was writing in second person. AP English, baby.)

How do we sign up? Whoa, missy. Let’s talk first, maybe meet if possible. This is a big commitment and, I feel, one of the most weighty decisions (like Top 2) you make whilst planning your wedding (and the other one is who you choose to marry). Then, after we see that we are indeed a match, a contract and retainer (currently $900) will make our relationship binding and legal.

Can we see a gratuitious, Zoolander-esque photo of your baby boy? Well, okay. You’ve made it this far so you’ve earned this. Drink it in. 

des-moines-iowa-wedding-photographers-best.jpg