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 30-40 color corrected photos per hour of engagement photo 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:

  • In Minnesota, it’s usually the weather!
  • Key people not being there when we need them for photos.
  • Hair and makeup sessions that run behind schedule.
  • Weddings that have fewer guests.
  • Weddings with fewer traditions, or details in general.

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

  • In Minnesota, it’s usually the weather! Yes, it works both ways with our goofy Minnesota weather!
  • Weddings with extra large wedding parties.
  • Elaborate venues.
  • An abundance of cultural traditions often results in more photographs than is typical.

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

Probably one of 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, 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.

Michael Anderson Photography has been selected as one of "The Best Wedding Photographers in Minneapolis, Minnesota" for 2018 by Expertise.

Expertise has chosen us as one of the 21 “Best Wedding Photographers in Minneapolis, Minnesota for the third year in a row!

Time For A Little Fun

“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 on the last topic above. But for fun, another very 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 49 more with a little more 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 as well as my DXO One Camera! Yes, that’s up to five 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 we’re only around 29 years old! 🙂
  9. The Knot “Best of Weddings” winners in 2008!
  10. Every year Michael and Joannie take well over 175,000 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, Crescent Cove, 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. Selected by Expertise as one of the 21 “Best Photographers in Minneapolis” for 2017.
  43. Winners of the 2017 WeddingWire “Couples’ Choice” Award!
  44. The Knot “Best of Weddings” winners in 2017!
  45. Our new little grandson, Ryder is absolutely adorable!
  46. Selected for the third year in a row as one of the “21 Best Wedding Photographers in Minneapolis” in 2018 by Expertise!
  47. The Knot “Best of Weddings” winners in 2018!
  48. Winners of the 2018 Wedding Wire “Couples’ Choice” Award!
  49. We’re the world’s only Light Painting Wedding Photographers!

More Q&A

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, Illinois, 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 our good friends to this day; and they have 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 anymore. 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 approximately 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 me 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. Our Light Painting Wedding Photography is a prime example of that. No one else in the entire world does that photographic process at a wedding!

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 a 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 15 weddings in a given year. In the “old days” when we used film to make images (call me if you want to know what film 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 slow down 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.

Be Safe, Not Sorry

“Do you have insurance?”

I’m very 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 portfolios, 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 to 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 away.

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 for us! 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 at the property and surrounding areas. At that time we usually preconceive several good ideas for your wedding portraits.

In recent years, we’ve 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 always 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, about 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 any light in the eyes, put some there! Enough said.

Time For A Little More Fun

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

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.” These are 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 phrases, 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 about 1/3 of your selected 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, cash, 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.

Real Wedding Client Reviews

We have real client reviews sprinkled all throughout our website. Here’s some of them from WeddingWire, Google and The Knot”:

“Michael and Joannie were fantastic photographers! From the moment we met them, they understood our vision and helped it come to life. I was impressed with how professional and fun they were. They knew how to make our wedding party relax and enjoy the day.

Two grooms and their wedding party at the Love sculpture in the Minneapolis Sculpture Gardens. Image created shortly after their Orchestra Hall wedding ceremony.


The fact they are a husband and wife duo makes them in tune to each other and everything around them. We loved the candid photos they captured and couldn’t be happier.

I would hands-down recommend them to anyone searching for a photographer. Great price for the amazing quality!”

Chris & Chris Orchestra Hall Wedding in Minneapolis, Minnesota

“I know I have told you this a million times by now, but Thank you. Thank you so much for all of your hard work on all of our events. From our engagement photos on a misty day in Stillwater, MN to the hot day on our wedding day, our photos have turned out amazing.

Bride & groom walking while their guests wave sparklers. Image taken at The Hitchin' Post in New Richmond, WI.

More sparklers!

I am so proud to show everyone this album and promote your name around to anyone who asks who did my photography. I have heard comments as great as, “Those are the best wedding photos I have seen” to “I appreciate all the time he took to take our family photo and ensure you could see everyone’s face.”

You guys are seriously the best, and every time I open this wedding album I am going to remember you guys (oh and the amazing day it was marrying Jay). Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you have done. Your talent is amazing and your pictures are breathtaking. I can’t wait until our next major event where you will get a call!”


Vanessa & Jay Rusty’s Hitchin’ Post Event Center Wedding in New Richmond, Wisconsin

“My husband and I booked with Michael Anderson Photography and we were not disappointed! They made our experience so special and amazing! They took the time to get to know us and our wishes for our big day and then went above and beyond what we could ever imagine! Michael and Joannie even showed up early to start photographing our big day to surprise us!

The bride & groom share a nighttime kiss on the historic Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis, MN.

The kiss.

Our pictures said it all, we all know as brides we get so overwhelmed in the moment and everything going on that there are small things about the day that we forget about, Michael and Joannie captured it all, we get to relive our best day over and over again, I still tear up looking at the pictures.

If you want a photographer that helps you to relive one of the best moments of your life then I highly recommend them, they will not disappoint. My husband and I are so so pleased with the results and we will have these for the rest of our lives. Thank you, Michael and Joannie for the amazing experience.“

Kate & Andrew Mount Olivet Lutheran Church Wedding and Profile Event Center Wedding Reception in Minneapolis, MN

“Michael Anderson Photography was hands down the best choice! After our first meeting, I knew that he was the perfect fit. I absolutely love Michael’s photography style. Michael is incredibly talented and such a joy to work with! He is very professional and knows what he is doing. His attention to detail is incredible and Michael and Joannie truly go above and beyond to get those one-of-a-kind shots for each couple. Pictures show up absolutely gorgeous!

Bride & groom in a shower of rose petals. Image created at their Olympic Hills Golf Club wedding.

On our wedding day, Michael and Joannie were very professional, friendly and fun, making everyone around them feel very comfortable. We had a blast taking our pictures with them! Our wedding day flew by so fast, and I am so happy that we now have those beautiful pictures to remember it by.

We are so happy with our engagement and wedding pictures Michael did for us and will be definitely using Michael Anderson Photography in the future!”

Zlata & Derek – Olympic Hills Golf Club Wedding in Eden Prairie, Minnesota

“Frequently Asked Questions About Wedding Photography” – © 2018 Michael Anderson Photography.