~COMMON QUESTIONS~

click a question to see the answer

how long have you been in business?


Matt Shumate Photography has been in business since 2009, since Kylie first talked me in to photographing her wedding. Nearly ten years and more than 350 weddings later (and who knows how many other sessions), I'm still here doing what I love. To this day, I have yet to have anything close to a 'bridezilla.' It's not an accident. I really feel like I do everything I can to take the stress of the wedding day away from the couple. A stressed out couple means they won't enjoy taking or looking at their photos as much as if they were relaxed and having a great time while being photographed!




are you willing to travel for weddings/sessions?


Absolutely! I've photographed a half dozen weddings in Hawaii, all different parts of the United States, Mexico, and even the ruins of a castle in Germany!




how will i get my photographs? how long does it take?


I deliver your photos via an online gallery where you are able to download your high resolution images. You're also more than welcome to share your photo gallery with friends, family, wedding guests, or anyone you'd like! They're able to order photos from the gallery as well, so that's one less thing you'll have to worry about! I edit every single photo that I deliver so that it meets my standards for consistency (I don't do anything special to the photos I show in my galleries or on my blog). Turn around time varies from session to session depending on the time of the year. On average, sessions are 2–3 weeks and weddings are 4–6 weeks. I'm always willing to work around your delivery timeline.




do you have a second photographer?


I'm very comfortable working by myself, but offer a second photographer as an option during weddings. Most weddings it isn't really necessary and I prefer to have the ability to stay low profile when I need to, but if you need coverage in separate locations or have a guest list in the 300 range, then it's something that might be beneficial.




how long are you there on the wedding day? how many photographs do you deliver?


I like being able to tell the whole story of the wedding day so I prefer to be there to capture as much as I can. That's one of the reasons that I don't have hours built in to my wedding coverage (it is also important that my hours not be a cause of stress on the wedding day. I've heard horror stories about couples cutting the cake as soon as the ceremony's over because the photographer was out of time!). Generally I arrive at some point during the getting ready process (nobody want's to see the 'just woke up' photos anyway) and I'm there throughout the night (at least until people are sick of having there photo taken). I'm in no hurry to leave because I love being on the dance floor just as much as anyone! It should be known that I have won a fair number of dance battles in my day. :) Just like the number of hours, I don't pay attention to the number of photographs I take or deliver until after the wedding is completely edited and delivered. That's because every wedding is unique. Consistency is very important to me though! I'd say on average, I deliver 400–600 edited wedding photos for a full day of coverage and portrait sessions range from 30 to 60.




what can we do with our photos? can we share them on social media?


Because of copyright law, the only limitation is that you can't resell your photos (like to a magazine or something like that—of course that's negotiable if you actually have magazines wanting to print your wedding photos!). Other than that I want you to enjoy every bit of your photos however you can. Print them. Give them away. Share them on social media. Put up a billboard. Buy a TV commercial during the Super Bowl to show them off. I'm just spitballing here. Really though, they're your photos to enjoy for the rest of your lives and I don't want to get in your way! If you did mention my name when you shared them, that would be pretty awesome though.




what else do you do during the wedding day?


Anything really. If it will help you have a better day, it's part of my job description—even if it doesn't involve a camera. I've tied many ties, bow ties, helped bustle a gown, acted as an impromptu DJ, carried water, pin on flowers, delivered snacks, guided the reception, reminded the rookie officiant to tell everyone to be seated during the ceremony (they forget all the time), and countless other things.




will you help pose us and come up with photo ideas?


That's literally my job. Most of my time is spent photographing non-models. Here's a little secret you get to know by reading this far in to the FAQ: awkwardness to start a session is a great tool for me to use in getting outstanding photos. It also doesn't last that long and after about a half hour, it'll feel completely normal to be sitting in front of my camera. If you have an idea—that's awesome! But it's definitely not a requirement and I don't expect it at all. The biggest part of a portrait session for couples is for them to be able to act like they like each other and everything else is my job! As far as posing goes, nearly all of my portraits are posed in some manner. Either I directly tell what each person to do, or I guide them to do things that will end up looking good—and natural. Sometimes it's also fun to do a really dramatic, unnatural looking pose. I've got you covered!




photo booths, yes or no?


Y-E-S! Want to make sure you get great, fun photos of all your guests, hire a photo booth! It really is one of the best activities for wedding guests, and the best part is that you'll get to see the results. It also makes for an easy and fun wedding favor for your guests! If you need recommendations, let me know!




can we ask for opinions on non-photo related subjects?


Absolutely! Please, please, please use me as an extra resource whenever you can! I've been to LOTS of weddings and have seen tons of different ideas in practice. I understand that planning your wedding can be a crazy undertaking with lots to navigate. I really feel for couples who jump in to planning their wedding and just don't even know where to start. I've had brides call me to ask my opinion on what bridesmaids dresses they should go with. I love that! Once a couple hires me, they get my ear on recommendations for other vendors too! Just ask!




can we see a full gallery from a wedding?


Without a doubt! All you have to do is ask and I'm happy to share! It's hard to really represent what a full wedding day of photos looks like via a portfolio site, a blog post, or on social media due to the limitations of space and trying to keep everything neat and tidy. I always say I could give one of my daughters a camera and have them hang out at some weddings, full of beautiful places and people, and they'll get a decent portfolio eventually. The only way around that is to really let you see some full galleries of weddings. For example, I ALWAYS take family portraits, but I don't show them much in my blog posts because the true value of those photos isn't in a random person seeing it online, but in the loved ones who are in those photos. In reality, those photos really are the photos whose value truly increases over time.




can we purchase albums or prints later?


Heck yes! I don't want to sound like a 'salesman' to the people I photograph. I want to make sure they get exactly what they want and don't feel like they've been sold something. That's why I don't offer any **BUY THE ABLUM/PRINTS NOW FOR A DISCOUNT** sales. If you know you want an album, that's awesome. But if you aren't sure or don't think you want one, then there's no reason to "buy it now." On average about 1/3 of the couples I photograph purchase an album up front, and another 1/3 end up buying a wedding album after their wedding is over. I've had grooms secretly order an album as an anniversary gift and I believe the record for ordering an album after the wedding is right around 5 years!




why don't you have pricing on your website?


I wish I could and have it be valid pricing for every couple. The reality is that weddings are so heavily date-focused that my prices for a wedding on a weekday or during the winter are quite a bit less than the prices for a summer wedding on a Saturday. If you let me know when your wedding date is, I can get you a good, clear price. Click here to send me a pricing request.




is winter a good time for a wedding or portrait session?


Oh my goodness yes! I really do love winter photography. And I promise you won't hear me whining about it. Once I even went for a run outside at 2 in the morning because the temperature dropped below zero and I wanted to see what that felt like. Guessing your wedding day won't be that cold. Weather has the potential to be a part of your wedding day regardless of the time of year. At least in the winter, you know it's going to be cold and you and your guests can plan for it. And seriously, the photos. :) Ask anyone who was married in the Winter what they think. Plus everything is less expensive!




do you have any funny wedding stories?


How much time do you have? I have amazing stories. I should probably write a book. I'd have to change a lot of names and blur a lot of photos though! :) Just ask me about the worst toast I've heard at a wedding (it was also the best toast).




i have more questions.


Sweet! I love answering questions. Click here and ask away!




do you really throw your camera up in the air and take a picture? Have you ever dropped it?


I really do. After thousands of tosses, I still have yet to drop in on accident. I did once—on purpose—with a previously broken camera to make a funny video. It was epic. I spent decades playing baseball and a short-hop ground ball is a lot harder to catch than a camera falling straight down slowly. I don't own a drone, so if you see an 'arial' photo I've made, it's by throwing the camera up in the air! You can watch me show how the technique works as well as watch me 'drop' it here.




can you help me take better pictures?


I hope so. In addition to running a 2 day workshop for photographers, I am an adjunct professor at Spokane Falls Community College's amazing photography program where I teach students the basics of digital photography. I've tutored people who just picked up their first dSLR as well as seasoned photographers who just want a different perspective and want to grow. You probably fall in between those two somewhere. I also happily visit local schools to talk about what it's like being a photographer, how creativity works, and look over student portfolios to give honest feedback/critique.




do you use natural light or artificial light on a wedding day/portrait session?


For a wedding, most of the time I let the day and available light dictate. That means I'm most often using the natural light, but I'm always on the lookout for spots to use artificial light and make really unique photos. Usually I'm looking for dark skies, dark streets, or inside buildings to make those types of photos. If you have a preference, let me know! It's similar for portrait sessions, but because they're much shorter than a wedding day, it's more likely that I wouldn't use flash unless it's in the evening. Just let me know and I can tweak the session for your preference, or we can just see how it goes!





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© MATT SHUMATE PHOTOGRAPHY 2019

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