Why should I hire a professional photographer at all? Can't I just get photos from my guests phones?
I'll admit that I've taken some pretty nice snapshots with my iPhone under ideal conditions. But your event won't be under ideal conditions. And how many of your guests are experts at using their phones camera? And are you looking for snapshots or photographs? My favorite wedding photo can be seen on the left. It's a photo of my mother and father taken in 1945 on the night they met! They were at a wedding; she was a friend of the bride and he was a friend of the groom. I'm so fortunate that they hired a professional photographer. Sure times have changed, and so has the technology. But the notion that a only professional photographer will get you the results you are looking for has not.
What should I look for when choosing a photographer for my special event?
My advice is to start by looking for the following three things, in this order.
You need to be satisfied with all three of these.
How are you able to offer your services at such low prices?
I specialize in event photography, most of which takes place on weekends. I am not bound to “make a living” as a professional photographer. I could, but I choose not to. I do not own a retail studio, with all the associated expenses. I chose event photography for reasons of passion. I love what I do, and get great joy out of creating beautiful images and preserving lifetime memories for my clients. Being an integral part of people celebrating the happiest days in their lives is a great honor for me.
I typically do not use assistants or second shooters. I also design and develop much of my own equipment. My pitfall is that I’m a gear head. I love cameras. I love lenses. I love flashes. I love toys. Leveraging these toys to get you the best possible images is my passion.
Do I own my images?The days of your photographer holding onto your images in order to sell them to you, even after you’ve paid them tons of money, are long gone, or at least should be. With Paul Stoloff Photography, you always own your images. You are welcome to order products from me, such as proof albums, prints or albums, but if you prefer, you can do what you like with your images. Image files are available for download from this website, and in many cases, they are delivered to you on a USB Flash Drive.
Do you back up my images?
Good question. Loss of images caused by a poor backup plan is a nightmare scenario for both the client and the photographer. Due to my exhaustive backup plan, I have never lost an image. So here’s how I’m so successful, and it’s not luck. First, from the moment I push the shutter button, two identical images are written to two separate memory cards in my camera. As soon as I get home, I upload one card to an external hard drive on my computer. Then I back up that hard drive to another external hard drive. Once editing is done, the edited files are again written to both of the external drives, and the original memory cards are ready to be reformatted. In addition, edited files are uploaded to my website for viewing. So when all is said and done, there are never fewer than two copies of every image, and in the end, there are three copies of the original files. All data is archived indefinitely. It may seem excessive, but it sure beats losing a client’s precious data.
One additional comment referring back to looking for a photographer. Ask your photographer if they use a dual slot camera. If not, this creates the potential for loss of images due to a corrupt card, a common problem. With only one card, if that card gets corrupted anytime during your event, you may be at risk for losing all of your images. This is why professional cameras have dual slots. So what kind of camera does your photographer use?
What type of equipment do you use?
These days everyone has a camera in their pocket. We’ve all heard that you can take a great snapshot with a smart phone. While that may be true under ideal conditions, your event is most likely going to take place in far less than ideal conditions. And if you try to enlarge that smart phone image, you may not be so impressed with the results. Also, a smart phone or entry level camera is not designed to shoot great pictures in a dimly lit room. That’s why I use professional cameras, lenses, and flashes from Nikon, all designed to capture the best image in the most challenging lighting. I also have developed a unique lighting system that brings a ballroom to life. Using no less than five flashes fired remotely, I am able to bring detail out of the background, resulting in a bright and colorful image that doesn’t look like it was shot with flash lighting. In addition, I use a wide array of professional lenses to cover every possible composition. I can shoot everything from the finest details in a wedding ring to the mitzvah service 200 yards away and everything in between.
Do you offer photo booth services?
I’m glad you asked. The traditional photo booth gives you prints that you can take home with you. That’s nice. My wife and I recently cleaned out a drawer in our study and threw away literally dozens of these images from years gone by. Also, a traditional photo booth needs to be attended, resulting in a tangible cost. As an alternative, I offer Gifyyy, a photo booth alternative that takes a both photos and quick succession of photos which is then compiled into a short GIF, which can be sent to your smart phone and shared via social media. Kids love it and are able to share their “picture” with friends in real time. Pricing for Gifyyy is $450 when part of any photography event. I’d love the opportunity to tell you more. Please visit the Gifyyy Photo Booth web page under the Info pull-down for more information.
Do you have the experience to shoot a Bar/Bat Mitzvah?
I have photographed over about 300 mitzvah events at nearly every synagogue in Metro Detroit. I grew up at Temple Israel and raised my kids there as well. I am keenly aware of mitzvah traditions and the photos that you expect. I have an excellent relationship with the clergy, administrators and many, many vendors. I have vast experience in the cadence and flow of the mitzvah experience. That said, every event is unique, and often requires the photographer to be flexible and adaptable.
What other type of photography to you do?
In addition to mitzvah photography, I have vast experience with weddings, senior portraits, family portraits and headshots. Feel free to browse my galleries for examples of this type of work. When browsing, please keep in mind that these galleries are the final product delivered to the client. Some of them are rather extensive. As an alternative, just sit back and enjoy the slideshow gallery on my home page.
When I’m not busy shooting professionally, I enjoy photographing the great outdoors of Michigan. My favorite place on earth is Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in the Munising area of the upper peninsula of Michigan. Just can’t get enough of it. I have won numerous awards from the Detroit Professional Photographers Association, Professional Photographers of Michigan, and Professional Photographers of America.
Do you have a backup photographer in case you are sick at the time of my event?
For most events, I shoot alone. This is one of the many ways I am able to keep my prices low. In the unlikely event that I am unable to shoot your event due to illness or injury, I have access to many local photographers that would be able to provide the necessary support. In the many years I have being doing event photography, I have only needed outside assistance one time.
Do you use second shooters or assistants?
Occasionally I might use an assistant or second shooter if I determine that your event is of a size that may require additional manpower. In this case, the quote you would have been given has any additional cost already included. As a result of working alone, my clients often remark how hard I worked during their event. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I enjoy the hard work and revel in the results.