How long have you been photographing weddings professionally?

What is your degree in?

  • Michael holds a Bachelors Degree in Photo Communications from California State University at Fullerton.

Why do you insist on shooting film when almost everyone else has gone digital?

  • Several reasons but the first and most important one is QUALITY. Film has a great range to it. It can capture the details in a white wedding dress, including the folds of the fabric and the small beadwork and lace that made a bride fall in love with her dress. It also captures the details in a black tuxedo. Our photographs show the fine differences between black ties, lapels, vests and jackets rather than one black blob. Even the best digital camera cannot guarantee to capture the same range as film. There are great things about digital and perhaps some day we will make the transition, but for now, we truly believe that film captures more details than digital. The second reason is that digital exposures are very tricky to get perfect, especially in a situation such as a wedding where you cannot control every lighting situation. The exposures and white balance can easily be goofed up.

We do offer some of the great products you can get with digital images. We have a very high quality negative scanner that we can scan all of your wedding images to CD. With those digital files, you can create coffee table books, web sites, galleries of your wedding so family members can see your images. The possibilities are endless. For more details on our additional products, check out our package list.

What is your opinion on the table cameras at the reception?

  • Table cameras are great to be used as a supplement to an official photographer, not as a replacement. Kids usually get a hold of the cameras and you will get 27 photos of silly things you didn't really want to see. The disposable cameras only have a flash range of about 10 feet, yet we still see people taking photos from 50 feet away of the cake cutting and dancing. Since we own the lab, we have numerous Brides and Grooms bring their table cameras to us for developing. They are continually surprised at how many just didn't turn out because of being underexposed or blurry. If you are on a budget and cannot afford our services for the whole reception, put one good camera into the hands of a trusted adult. Ask them to shoot the events that occur after we leave. Your photos will turn out much better than a dozen disposable cameras with plastic lenses.

Do you recommend doing all photos of the Bride and Groom before the wedding ceremony?

  • Yes, we do with good reason. This is not just our opinion, this is practical advice after years of seeing weddings run seriously behind because of the Bride and Groom not wanting to see each other before the ceremony. Please note that  not seeing the Bride before the ceremony was an ancient tradition because young Brides didn't even know the men they were going to marry and their parents didn't want them to run away once they saw who they were betrothed to.

The following are the reasons you should consider taking all of your formal photos before your ceremony.

  • Your flowers are fresh and have not wilted, especially in the summer.

  • The bride's hair and make-up are still fresh and perfect. After the ceremony the make-up has been "cried on" and the hair has been "hugged into a mess" during the receiving line

  • Your guests do not have to wait for you to arrive at your reception. This allows them to shower you with birdseed or rose petals outside of the church after your ceremony. This also allows you, your family and the wedding party to enjoy the reception longer.

  • When the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony, they have quiet time to spend together and to enjoy each other's company. Couples who see each other for the first time during the ceremony sometimes don't have a chance to tell each other how wonderful they look. They are pulled away from each other throughout the day for one reason or another and are not allowed to spend their day together as they had dreamed.

  • Having photos taken gives you something to do, rather than sitting around worrying

  • Before the ceremony photos saves you money regarding our time. We set up the lighting on our own time prior to the contracted time for the photographer to begin. When the photos of the bride and groom are taken after the ceremony, we have to re-set all of the lighting during the time that you have booked us.

  • If you have children in your family or wedding party, they are much more cooperative when they are fresh and excited. After the ceremony, they are physically and emotionally drained and usually not happy to pose for pictures. They delay the flow of getting your photographs taken quickly and efficiently

  • If it is important for you to make a grand entrance, that can easily be arranged. We have often photographed the groom at the altar with the bride walking down the aisle as she would walk during the ceremony. We are able to get photographs of the groom's face when he first sees his bride. We have also photographed the bride carefully placed at the altar with her train laid out perfectly when the groom walks in. These photographs are followed by a few minutes of quiet time in the sanctuary for just the bride and groom.

Colwell Photography is happy to honor your wishes, whatever you choose. We like to provide this information for couples before the wedding day so you can make the decision that is right for you. We have heard several comments when couples and their parents have come to pick up their photographs regarding the wedding day. Most say that if they were to do it over, the only thing they would change is when they took the formal photographs. They did not realize how they would feel knowing that their guests were waiting for them. Some even point out their facial expressions in the photographs, remembering that they were worried if everything was prepared at the reception site before the guests arrived.