Frequently Asked Questions FAQ

“Frequently Asked Questions About Wedding Photography” – FAQ


“The time to find out that you should have selected a better wedding photographer is not on or after your wedding day.” – Michael Anderson


“How many photographs will I receive?”

We typically deliver approximately 50-60 color corrected photographs per hour of wedding coverage and approximately 40-50 corrected photos per hour of engagement session coverage.

The final number of wedding photos may vary as some things are just plain out of our control. Here’s just a short list of things that may reduce your total wedding photos:

1. In Minnesota, it’s usually the weather!

2. Key people not being there when we need them for photos.

3. Hair and make up sessions that run behind schedule.

4. Weddings that have fewer guests.

5. Weddings with fewer traditions, or details in general.


Here’s a short list of some of the things that can increase your photograph total:

1. In Minnesota, it’s usually the weather! Yes, it works both ways with our goofy

Minnesota weather!

2. Weddings with extra large wedding parties.

3. Elaborate venues.

4. An abundance of cultural traditions often result in more photographs than is typical.


Will you be our photographer or will someone else photograph our wedding?”

Probably one of the the most frequently asked questions is this one. And it’s one of the most important you can ask of any wedding photographer.

Especially important in this day of the “big box” wedding companies sending multiple photographers out on assignment on any given weekend. They cannot promise that the photographer you have selected is going to even be a contractor for them days or months down the road. That’s something very important for you to ponder.

When you select Michael Anderson Photography, it will be Michael (that’s me) will be the primary photographer at your wedding and Joannie will be your second photographer.

When you think about it, wouldn’t you really want to have the owners of an established and highly reputable and wedding and portrait studio as your wedding photographers instead of a part time or “for hire” shooter who has no vested interest in you or your wedding’s success?

And as both the business owners and the camera operators, you’ll also be assured that you’ll receive the very best that we have to offer. Every. Single. Time.

In January 2015, Michael & Joanie were inducted into The Knot "Best of Weddings" Hall of Fame.

Michael & Joanie were inducted into The Knot “Best of Weddings” Hall of Fame in 2015.


“Why should we select you as our wedding photographer?”

There are a bazillion reasons why you should choose us as your wedding photographers. A real biggie was just answered in the last topic above. Our fun, but important “Top 20” reasons can be found here.

I know, 20 is not even close to a bazillion reasons, but since you asked, here are a whole bunch more with a little fun mixed in because fun on your wedding day is extremely important!

If one or more of them sound a little repetitious, it’s probably pretty important as well. So here you go:

  1. Joannie is really cute.
  2. Michael has a super cool “Batman Utility Belt” with two cameras (three if you count his iPhone), battery packs and flashes attached.
  3. Oh yeah, and I often hand carry yet another camera/flash/battery/super duper combo too! Yes, that’s up to four cameras with me at one time.
  4. OK, even though iPhones are super cool, I really can’t include it as one of my wedding cameras, so make that four cameras. An iPhone is not really a camera; note the word “phone” not “camera” in the iName).
  5. Joannie now has her very own “Batgirl Utility Belt” too (with about 50 pounds less stuff attached to it). It’s not exactly a fashion statement, but Michael is hoping she’ll use it. (big boy cameras with big boy lenses are heavy after a while). Besides, Michael can’t wear a “Batgirl Utility Belt!” Duh.
  6. Michael and Joannie really will make your wedding day experience amazing and fun!
  7. Michael takes your already wonderful wedding photographs and makes them even more amazing with his extensive Photoshop® retouching and enhancing skills.
  8. Joannie and Michael have more wedding experience than almost all other wedding photographers anywhere. Yet they’re only around 29 years old! 🙂
  9. The Knot “Best of Weddings” winners in 2008!
  10. Every year Michael and Joannie take well over 150,000 wedding, engagement and portrait photographs of all kinds. We would like to take yours too!
  11. Our pricing is a really great value.
  12. Michael and Joannie use great cameras, pro-lenses and state of the art studio quality lighting equipment at all weddings.
  13. The Knot “Best of Weddings” winners in 2009!
  14. Michael and Joannie love to support their community.
  15. Three of our favorite charities are: Cystic Fibrosis, Children’s Lighthouse of Minnesota and the Ralph Reeder Food Shelf.
  16. We carry liability, equipment, and errors & omissions insurance.
  17. The Knot “Best of Weddings” winners in 2011!
  18. Michael is ridiculously serious (actually anal) about the short and long-term safety of your digital negatives and photographs.
  19. Michael and Joannie understand the importance of family.
  20. Joannie is a pretty good golfer.
  21. As one of our brides and grooms, you can become “Client For Life” members. Free stuff forever!
  22. Many of our brides become “M&J Brides” and get TOP SECRET special goodies that no one else gets!
  23. The Knot “Best of Weddings” winners in 2013!
  24. Michael Anderson Photography is a longtime member of the Twin Cities North Chamber of Commerce.
  25. Michael and Joannie have the skills and experience to photograph rapidly changing and complicated situations as they happen.
  26. Without those skills, important wedding moments can be missed—moments that usually can’t be recreated.
  27. Michael and Joannie are telepathic (usually pertains to #25 & #26).
  28. Mickey Mouse is one of Michael’s close personal friends. I’m actually not kidding (just ask Minnie).
  29. Michael may never “grow up.” (see #28).
  30. Michael and Joannie are highly motivated.
  31. The Knot “Best of Weddings” winners in 2014!
  32. Michael and Joannie have a business and personal reputation that is on the line every time they photograph a wedding or portrait session. They therefore have a strong incentive to do an amazing job.
  33. The Knot “Best of Weddings” winners in 2015!
  34. Michael and Joannie really, really, really want you to be happy with your wedding photographs and wedding albums.
  35. Michael and Joannie were inducted into The Knot “Best of Weddings” Hall of Fame in 2015!
  36. Our two wedding album companies, Finao® and La-Vie®, are the finest quality wedding albums you can buy anywhere in the world at any price!
  37. The Knot “Best of Weddings” winners in 2016!
  38. Michael has been using Photoshop® since version 2.0 (that’s a long, long time).
  39. Winners of the 2016 Wedding Wire “Couples’ Choice” Award!
  40. Selected by Expertise as one of the 21 “Best Photographers in Minneapolis” for 2016.
  41. Our beautiful granddaughter Riley is really, super, super cute and is “Grandpa’s Little Buddy!”
  42. Winners of the 2017 Wedding Wire “Couples’ Choice” Award!
  43. The Knot “Best of Weddings” winners in 2017!
  44. Our new little grandson, Ryder is absolutely adorable!
  45. Selected for 2017 as one of the “21 Best Wedding Photographers in Minneapolis” by Expertise!


How do we know that you’ll do a good job?”

Well, if the “bazillion” reasons we just mentioned were not enough; we’ve now photographed well over 800 weddings in Minneapolis, St. Paul, many locations throughout Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and all over the country since 1986!

Those many experiences working with all of those different couples at literally thousands of different locations and wedding venues lends us a level of practical and artistic experience that we bring to your wedding day.

But the real proof is in our hundreds of happy brides and grooms; many of which are good friends of ours to this day; and their beautiful wedding photographs that they’ll cherish forever.

We try to reflect that in our always changing Home Page images and Wedding and Portrait Galleries and blog on our website. And that work reflects the kind of quality wedding photography you can expect from us on your wedding day.

We also double promise pinky swear that we will do a great job for you. If that still doesn’t do it for you, check out some “Raves and Testimonials” from our past clients.


Will you hold my wedding date?”

Sometimes people will say one thing and then do something totally different. For example, they’ll change their wedding date. Suddenly a wedding date we think is taken isn’t any more. In the meantime, we had turned another bride (or more than one) away because we thought we were booked!

It has happened to us more than once in our 30 years as wedding photographers. It doesn’t anymore.

As of February 1, 2015 this is our wedding date reservation policy:

In order to reserve our photography studio for a particular wedding date, we must have both a signed copy of our Wedding Photography Agreement and a reservation payment of 1/3 of the chosen Wedding Collection paid (which is applied towards your Wedding Collection).

Although Joannie and I would love to hold dates for clients who have not yet had a chance to meet with us or who have not yet made their final decision, we simply cannot turn someone else away who might be ready to book us for a certain date.

With that strict policy in place, and to keep it fair for everyone, the first couple who is willing to provide us with a signed agreement and 1/3 of their Wedding Collection paid as the reservation fee will book Joannie and myself as their exclusive wedding photographers!


“Do you offer discounts?”

Another frequently asked question is about wedding discounts. We certainly understand that budget is always of great concern when you’re planning a wedding.

When you consider that an average wedding for us takes between 50 and 70 man hours to complete from start to finish, our Wedding Collection Prices already reflect an incredible value.

When looking at other photographers with similar skills, similar experience (there are not many out there with more than 30 years of wedding photography experience, especially as a Husband and Wife Wedding Photography Team) and similar work; our prices are typically much lower than the fees charged by similarly skilled photographers offering comparable products and services.

That being said, we do offer Wedding Collection discounts for the following: weddings for friends and family, off season wedding dates, a bride or groom who has or is currently serving our country in the military, a member of one of our past wedding parties, etc. Please inquire.


“How would you describe your wedding photography?”

Fun, relaxed and totally awesome! We’re really, really picky about your wedding day experience and the final image quality.


“Would you say that you’re a successful photographer?”

I’m sure that most people would consider us successful wedding & portrait photographers. We love what we do and try to give back to our community whenever we can. We strive to have our photography constantly evolve and improve.

Michael lives, eats and breathes (and sometimes sleeps) photography. We always want to be better than we were last week.

And if we can continue to meet that standard, then we believe that will ensure our future success.


“How long have you been in business?”

Another frequently asked question is when we got started as wedding photographers.

Michael made the transition from hobbyist photographer (actually a wildlife photographer) to professional photographer in 1986 after attending the School of Communication Arts in Minneapolis. We opened our home wedding and portrait studio in September of that year.

If you’d like to know more, check out more information about Michael and Joannie here.


“How many weddings did you photograph last year?”

This is such a great question to ask other photographers as well! And I believe that the answer can reveal lots of information about the health of their photography business, their ability to service clients, and relates directly to the freshness of their work.

Our goal at this point in our careers is to photograph about 13 to 18 weddings in a given year. In the “old days” of film (call me if you want to know what that is) we could easily do upwards of 30 or more in one year.

As mentioned earlier, Michael has also been one of those “for hire” photographers with dozens of weddings shot “on the side” for one of the big box wedding companies. So he knows what he’s talking about in regard to their quality of work and their customer service too.

Since the average “digital wedding” takes our studio more than 60 hours or more to complete and for quality control purposes, under no circumstances will we photograph more than 20 weddings in a year. Our work (and the quality of your wedding images) would have to suffer greatly and that is simply NOT an option for us.

So you can see we are much harder to book now than we used to be since we have to limit our availability to keep our image quality at our extremely high level.


“Do you have insurance?”

I’m terribly risk adverse and thus I’m a strong proponent of insurance. Our studio carries liability insurance and also errors & omissions insurance. In addition, we carry full replacement equipment insurance on all gear valued at more than $250. I’m happy to provide your venues with a certificate of insurance (COI) upon request.


“Will you convert our photographs to black & white?”

In most cases, the photographs that we provide on you will be color images. By presenting your final jpeg files in full color, we’re providing you with an option to later convert any image to black & white.

If we provided certain photographs as black & white images, there is usually a reason for it. Usually it’s a funky lighting situation (almost always involving DJ or a band lighting) that simply can’t render good skin tones. If you ever wanted them in their original full color state, you would need to contact Michael.

By typically providing full color photographs of everything we capture at your wedding, you have options that you might not otherwise have had we converted a selection to black & white.

However, as you may have noticed from our portfolio, retouched photographs or images included in wedding albums are often converted to black & white. And with this model, we believe that you can have the best of both worlds!


“Do you add special effects to our wedding photographs?”

Since the computer techie part of our studio operation is strictly Michael’s gig, he’ll tell you that his preferred style, when correcting or retouching photos, is too make the client look his or her best and to remove the “digital look” from the images. He emulates the look of film (again, please call him if you don’t know what that is) in every single photograph of any kind we print.

He strives to make each person look just a few years younger and a few pounds lighter ideally without them knowing he did it! They love how they look in their photographs, but quite often don’t really know that there was a little bit of “pixie dust” applied!

Michael uses several of the dozens of custom Photoshop® actions, filters and plug-ins on each and every image to accomplish that. While he does like the occasional use of textures, selective color, color toning, high dynamic range (HDR), or other similar “Instagram-like” editing techniques, he uses them sparingly and only on a select image or two in the typical wedding album he custom designs.

Although Michael and Joannie have seen and even admired examples of photographs that were retouched or edited using those processes, we tend to follow a more basic esthetic founded on classical and established photographic techniques. Looking at photography over the last hundred years, we’ve seen styles and fads and observed how they come and go just like powder blue tuxedos came and thankfully went.

We realize that one aspect of photography always remains the same. Timeless photographs are well-exposed and technically proficient images that tell a story or boast an interesting composition. The same truth cannot be said for photographs edited or retouched a certain way based on trends. Images like those may become cliché and can fade in popularity down the road.

We believe that avoiding too many special effects while retouching increases the likelihood that our photographs will maintain a universally appealing longevity.


“Will you scout our venue before our wedding?”

Another of the most frequently asked questions is if we have worked at your venue(s) before and if not, will we check it out to get ideas before your wedding day.

Every year, we get to work at some Minneapolis and St. Paul wedding venues that are entirely new to us. New locations tend to spark more creativity! If we’re working at a new venue, we sometimes will visit it during your engagement portrait session if we are nearby or at another time when we’re in the neighborhood. If that hasn’t happened, on the wedding day we typically arrive much earlier than normal and take a detailed look around the property and surrounding areas. At that time we usually preconceive several good ideas for your wedding portraits.

In recent years, we’re been doing more and more Destination Wedding Photography, which really gets our creative juices going! By the way, the first couple to book us for their destination wedding anywhere in Europe will get a super, duper deal on their wedding photography. Bonus points for Italy, Norway, Denmark or Switzerland. (Those are very high on Michael’s Bucket List)

To us, the most important consideration is the quality of the light. After the lighting, we look at our subjects. And after we have made the best of our subjects in the best available (or created) light, then we look to taking advantage of interesting elements that the venue has to offer.


“Are you a “natural or available light” photographer or do you prefer to use flash?”

Michael’s soapbox moment:

It seems in this day and age of digital cameras and the influx of literally thousands of new photographers out there every year, a “natural light photographer” many times means that they don’t own; or worse, don’t know how to use a light meter, electronic flashes or other types of artificial lighting.

When used correctly, the use of electronic flash for portraits and wedding photography should not even be noticed. Yes, there are times when it looks very cool to see and notice that multiple strobes are being used (we do it all the time for effect); generally in good, traditional portraiture the use of flash should “look” like “natural light.”

Unfortunately, 95% of the time, natural light falls very short of great light for portraits of any kind. It’s one of the reasons that we’ve built our custom lighting cart we call “Lightning McQueen.” It allows us to carry our powerful portable strobe systems to more places much more easily.

If you can’t see good light in the eyes, put some there! Enough said.


“What are Michael’s favorite words or phases?”

I’m glad you asked! While not really qualifying as one of our frequently asked questions it’s time for a little more fun…

Well for quite some time now; “Nice.” or sometimes “Nice!” is Michael’s goto word. It’s got to be said in Tim Allen’s, “Tim, The Tool Man Taylor” voice (Home Improvement) to get the full effect.

Since we’re talking about Tim Allen, just so you know; Buzz Lightyear is a real person.

Another of my favorites is “More Better.” It’s actually a professional photography term (that’s what I will tell you when I use it in front of you for the first time). I really love using it around ring bearers and flower girls, especially if their mom is in the wedding party and it’s even more better if mom or grandma is an elementary school teacher!

I can tell you now that at your wedding there will almost always be a “word of the day” and that word is nearly always “boogers!” Especially handy again with those ring bearers (it gets mixed reviews with flower girls) and really can work miracles with grandma on occasion.

“Yesterday’s” word of the day is always “dirty underwear” and for obvious reasons is always said quietly if we are in a church setting. It is usually followed by something like “hey, that’s actually two words!”

“Jimbo” and/or “Freddy.” My goto invented “new names” for ring bearers.

“Ralphie” and/or “Fredrica.” I’m not actually sure how to even spell my two invented flower girl names.

There could be and will be more words or phases, but you get the idea. Gotta have some fun!


“What happens if you get sick or hurt and can’t photograph our wedding?”

This pertains more to Michael since he’s “the main” photographer. None of us can guarantee that we will be here tomorrow. But in the unlikely event that I am injured or become ill, I’ll do my best to secure a replacement photographer who has a skill set similar or superior to mine.

When looking for a replacement (which has only happened once in my more than 30 years as a wedding photographer; and for the record, I no longer have an Appendix), it’s important to note that I have friends in the Minneapolis area who are also accomplished wedding photographers. And many of those photographers charge more for their photography than we do for ours. Those are the kids who I’m going to be calling if I ever get in a bind.

That being said, if a replacement cannot be found or if you find our suggested replacements unacceptable, then we will refund your Reservation Fee and all monies paid to date, less any monies for services already rendered or received.


“What are your payment terms?”

As mentioned above in “Will you hold my wedding date?”, to book us for your wedding, we require a signed Wedding Agreement and 1/3 of your chosen Wedding Collection paid as the reservation fee. Upon receipt of the signed agreement and retainer, we’ll ensure and guarantee our availability for your specific wedding date.

For that reason, the reservation fee is non-refundable. The remaining balance, plus Minnesota Sales Tax is due no later than one month before your wedding.

For all wedding-related payments, we accept personal checks, cashier’s checks, money orders, and all major credit cards. All credit card transactions must involve using the actual cards’ magnetic stripe and an electronic signature. We use Square (the little doohickey that plugs into my iPhone and iPad) to process credit card transactions, so they can happen just about anywhere.

“Frequently Asked Questions About Wedding Photography” – ©2017 Michael Anderson Photography