You can hook me up, can’t you?

We have been trained to hope for or even expect discounts for some products and services, but not others.

No one tries to negotiate the price of gas at the pump. Or a shirt at a mall.

But walk onto a car lot and it’s time to crack your knuckles and get to work.

For some reason, wedding photography is viewed as one of those “negotiable” services. This probably has to do with the fact that it’s pretty difficult to put a standard on the price, and art is subjective. What’s of value artistically to one person may not hold the same value for another.

There have been many articles written that attempt to justify the cost of wedding photography. They start off by listing the cost of their gear. How much they have to pay for gas. Their mortgage. The more desperate ones might even throw their kids’ dental costs at you.

I disagree with every one of these articles.

The fact is, I believe that I offer a service of value, and I want to market myself to people who share that belief. I do my best to provide the best work I possibly can for my clients and to give them a part of my artistic vision. This is what I’m selling.

This is also how I make my living.

So when I offer discounts for my services, I cannot do it arbitrarily. I have to put thought into the reason I’m willing to put a lower price on what I consider to be my art. What do I hope to gain from it? Why should I give a discount?

Sometimes it can be a celebration. For example, when Nebraska passed its marriage equality law, I decided to offer a discount to anyone who booked with me that month as a show of support. I’m a wedding photographer. Of course I want the opportunity for more people to get married. And it’s an issue I also happen to agree with.

My birthday is in April, which is traditionally a very slow booking month for me. Offering a “birthday” discount is a way to potentially gain some new business that might otherwise not have come my way. Were my birthday in January or February, normally high booking months, I probably wouldn’t be able to offer the discount.

Because my discounts aren’t arbitrary, because each must be carefully considered, traditionally they are very time limited.

Now I’m going to change that.

For the first time in almost 10 years of business, Studio Orange is going to start offering a permanent discount for clients.

But there’s a catch.

This discount will be offered to anyone who also books with Event Design to help plan their wedding.

The answer to the “why” of this is actually pretty simple.

I’ve photographed a number of weddings that Shelly at Event Design has organized. Without exception, they have been some of the smoothest events I’ve had the pleasure of working. I have been fortunate that I’ve never experienced a complete disaster of a wedding, but I have had situations come up that could have used someone like Shelly to manage things. She also makes my job easier by keeping people on schedule and making sure they get where they need to be.

I can focus on taking great photos, instead of, say, trying to track down those two groomsmen who snuck off to listen to the game.

The bottom line is that not only will Shelly make your day easier, but she’ll make mine easier, too.

And because of that, I’m willing to pass a savings on to you so we can both benefit.

Hire Event Design for your wedding and you can take 10% off of my most popular photography package, the Tangerine. Furthermore, Shelly will also give you a discount for working with Studio Orange.

You could save up to $600 off of your weddings costs.

And you don’t even have to negotiate.

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Creating Magic

One of the things I love about photography is that it can be used as a tool to freeze reality in fresh and interesting ways. There are a lot of tricks that can be used to push the boundaries of traditional imagery. I love discovering and exploring them all.

Several years ago, New York based wedding photographer Ryan Brenizer was interested in trying to replicate the feel of large format images, but with a 35mm digital sensor. Because of the imaging properties of the super large negative (or sensor), a large format camera using a wide angle lens can retain an incredible shallow depth of field. You know, the cool blurry backgrounds.

With a wide angle lens on a 35mm camera, it’s difficult to get a nice, blurry background unless the subject is very close to the lens.

What Brenizer did was to use the concept of panoramic stitching, but with a longer focal length lens. By shooting at a long focal length, and with the aperture wide open, he was able to get super blurry backgrounds. When taking a number of photos of a subject, as one would with a traditional panorama, and stitching them together, the resulting image mimics the wide angle look, crazy in-focus detail, and super blurry backgrounds of large format.

This became popularly known as the Brenizer Method.

And it’s one of my favorite techniques. I’ll show you why.

Here is a traditionally photographed image from the wedding of Sara and Derek, way back in 2012 in Omaha, Nebraska:

Sara and Derek | August 4, 2012 | Omaha, Nebraska

Sara and Derek | August 4, 2012 | Omaha, Nebraska

It was taken with my 35mm lens at f/2 — meaning the aperture was as wide open as possible.

There are some people in the background, but since this was just a test shot, I wasn’t worried about that.

All in all, it isn’t a bad image. If I waited for the background to clear, I’d be perfectly OK with delivering a shot like this to a client.

It’s good.

But it isn’t magical.

And I like to do what I can to deliver something special to my clients.

So time to break out one of my favorite lenses. My 135mm. Standing roughly in the same spot as the above photo, I was able to take this:

Sara and Derek | August 4, 2012 | Omaha, Nebraska

Sara and Derek | August 4, 2012 | Omaha, Nebraska

From just this, you can see how much more blurry the background is.

This image was just one of 94 total shots I took, moving the camera as I would a landscape panorama in order to capture a wider field of view.

This did require Sara and Derek to hold their pose for a minute while I got all of the shots I needed. They were completely game. It helped that I used this trick for their engagement session, too. So even if they thought I was a little crazy then, they saw the results.

Then after some Photoshop stitching magic, I wind up with the following:

Sara and Derek | August 4, 2012 | Omaha, Nebraska

Sara and Derek | August 4, 2012 | Omaha, Nebraska

Check out how the background now just melts away.

The focus is 100% on Sara and Derek. As it should be.

The field of view of this image is almost exactly the same 35mm as the first image in this post. But using a little fancy math I was able to determine that the effective aperture is f/0.45 — basically an impossible aperture.

You might say, a magical aperture.

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April 2016 Birthday Special


So it’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these. Figure it’s about time.

Here’s the deal: April is my birthday month. So to celebrate, I’m offering you guys a special deal. Book my Tangerine package any time between now and the end of April 2016 and I will take $300 off the package price. Boom!

Now here’s the important part: You can get married any time. Your wedding is in 2017? 2018? No problem. Not only will you get the birthday discount, but you’ll also be locked in at 2016 rates. So you’re potentially getting a double whammy of a deal.

First, head on over to my Wedding Packages page to check out what all you get with the Tangerine (and check out the others, too, to see if one of those suits your needs better).

Then jump on over to my Contact page and shoot me an inquiry (quick tip: for some reason, spam filters really love me… so if you send an inquiry, be sure to check your junk folder because I usually respond pretty quickly — and leaving your phone number helps, too).

Just remember, book before the end of April to lock in your deal!

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