The Important Info

Absorb it

Frequently

asked questions

You have questions. We have answers. Get the scoop here. If you're left with questions, then we've failed you. And feel free to reach out. 

Wedding planning is huge. And overwhelming. We know from experience. So definitely use Still Music as a valuable resource. Share the burden as much as you can or want and know that everything will be done to make your day as efficient and worry-free as possible.

Where are you located and what areas do you serve?

We’re based out of sunny Santa Cruz, CA, ~1 hour south of San Francisco at the top of the Monterey Bay. Our immediate serviceable areas include a 2 hour drive radius from Santa Cruz, as well as the Sonora, Tuolumne and Calaveras Counties areas (Sonora = home, sweet home). However, we travel so just tell us about your day and we’ll let you know what our travel costs will be!

What are your prices?

Depends on what you’re looking for, but there are packages starting at $3000 for 2017. We’re confident we can accommodate most budgets! We encourage you to contact us about your small or intimate wedding/elopement! Currently we’re booking for 2017. Click “Contact” up top and fill out the form for more info.

What's your booking process?

You decide on what you want, we write up an invoice. You sign our online contract and pay a retainer to hold your date, with the balance due before your wedding date. We have to charge your local tax rate, which is reflected in your invoice. No additional costs will incur unless your plans change. Once we receive payment, we'll send you a receipt. We prefer check or bank transfer, but accept most major credit cards and other online forms of payment.

Please note: we operate on a first come, first pay basis. Our services are often in high demand, so we are unable to hold any dates for any period of time without payment and contract.

What's your cancellation/change policy?

In most cases, your retainer will be forfeited. In some sensitive situations, we'll be considerate under the circumstances.

What’s a timeline?

Timeline is a rough outline of our day together. The reason it helps so much is 1. we can visually see what our day looks like and plan/adjust accordingly and 2. it means you, us and family stick to a timeline so that we can efficiently capture the family and bridal party portraits quickly. More time for fun portraits/adventures! More hanging out with your guests at cocktail hour! Your coordinator and DJ also might help you develop a timeline, but we’ll help you develop one that includes the times for portraits. We’ll help you decide when and where we should meet family, whether it’s before or after the ceremony. We usually provide a lot of cushion when drafting your timeline, since family always runs a little late and we don’t want to be stressed. The more we plan beforehand, the smoother your day will go = less stressed = pictures turn out WAY BETTER and you enjoy your time with us a lot more! It’s worth the extra work on the front-end — that’s why we’re here to help!

What do you mean, portrait groups?

If you Google ‘wedding shot list,’ you’ll probably find a lot of ridiculous examples of lists that have dozens and dozens of picture and pose ideas. This is not what your photographer, not just us, is hoping for. All photographers hope that you’re hiring them for THEIR creative eye. You don’t want to hire them just to have them copy other photographers’ work. As we’ve most succinctly heard it put — “those images = THEIR love… you don’t want to copy THEIR love!” The portrait groups should include family groupings for the family photo session on your wedding day. Include names so that your photographers can yell out names to prepare the upcoming groups for their turn. It’s often recommended to keep this list shorter than 10 different groups, since shooting all those people can get hectic and will certainly cut into your portrait time with your husband/wife!

What’s an “Unplugged” wedding?

“As the digital age quickly swallows us whole, brain washing us and sucking us away from reality, photographers and couples are realizing the significance of “Unplugged” weddings. Most weddings are full of guests holding their phones and cameras up to their face. You spent weeks and weeks and months planning this day. You planned it for you, for your family and for your guests. Ask them to leave their cameras at home, their phones in their pockets, and enjoy your day together with you. That’s why you’re hiring a professional, so that no one else has to worry about capturing your day! There can also be some conflicts with guests and family who are fighting us photographers for the best positions. This idea of letting the professionals handle the coverage helps us out so much. You can add this request in your invites. Put a sign up in the parking lot maybe. Have your officiant and DJ make announcements. Or put a statement in your programs.

Here is one photographer’s take on “Uncle Bobs.”

Here is a great CNET article about "Unplugged Weddings.” – all from our Resource Page

What's your turnaround time?

Starting in 2017 we're offering one (work) week turnaround for all events, including weddings. Images will be posted by the 2nd week after your event.

6-12 weeks from wedding: your album shipped with image delivered digitally (this mostly depends on how quickly you and I are able to work out the album design together—we try to keep it at 1 round of changes). We do our best to keep the release time within 2 months, but we can't guarantee a specific turnaround time for the album, especially around the holidays.

What about tipping our photographer?

Tips are not expected but always appreciated. Read more from this article over at Offbeat Bride.

What about ideas for dressing the groom? Any other tips for the guys?

One of our biggest pet peeves is when the girls in the bridal party look SO amazing and the guys look like Rent-A-Groomsmen. There is always so much thought and care put into what the girls wear and so often it’s not the same with the guys. If you’re a bride with a groom-to-be, try to get your guy into the idea of looking his best. Like a grownup. Like a man. That means none of those boxy rental tuxes/suits! None of those plastic-looking shiny black shoes that are so slippery on any surface. One of our favorite weddings was at Santa Margarita Ranch and aside from everything looking amazing that day, the dudes looked super hot. The groom’s mother hand made all the guys’ ties! Check out more pictures from that wedding at our 100 Layer Cake feature.

We thought this was a good place to start; don’t take everything in this article to heart though, we just want you to look your best.

“Dress Like a Grown Man”

If he needs, tell your man to get in touch with me (Jeremy) and I’ll send him my secret “fashion” Pinterest boards. I got your back, man.

Another post about dressing the guys over at this forum.

Here’s an article we came across with one of our images about how to be a "Great Groomsman."

Can we meet in person?

Let's do it. We enjoy having couples over to our home office near downtown Santa Cruz, CA. You get a personal glimpse of our lives and we get to know each other a bit. We love hearing about your day and hearing your story and your hobbies. Sometimes couples aren't able to make it to Santa Cruz, so we can meet via Skype!

Can we customize a package?

The best way to customize your package is by addition; customizing packages by exchanging products and services is difficult for us to calculate and not cost-effective for us, since we build our business around our packages and the products/services they provide. However, it’s always worth a shot to ask because sometimes we’re able to accommodate.

Can you adjust your editing style? We really like when everything is black and white and the flowers are red. And there’s a dinosaur in the background.

Sorry we don’t do that. Or photoshopping dinosaurs into backgrounds. But we know of photographers who still do that if you need referrals!

Can we see an example of your proofing?

Of course! Here is an example of what your Event will look like on your Storefront.

Do you offer off-season or weekday pricing?

No, but you can always ask to open up a dialogue about your needs if you have special circumstances.

Do you make albums and should we get one?

Yes and most def. It’s the best and most artistic way to archive and display your images. We offer albums printed by US companies here in the States, and these companies don’t work with the public, so you’re receiving a top-of-the-line and one-of-a-kind product. Sizes are square and range from 6x6 to 10×10. Prices range from $400-$800, and we offer discounts on duplicates and multiple orders. Albums come with 15 spreads, which is 30 pages, and usually contain ~60 images from your day. But you can add spreads, too! Click here for more info.

Do you bring backup equipment?

Yes—we do our best to protect our gear and make sure we have multiples of everything. We also bring a lot of the things you might forget—bobby pins, high fives, safety pins, mirror, etc. Check with us if you need something!

Do you have insurance?

Yes—we’re covered and can provide proof of insurance.

Do you have questions for me?

We just want to know more about your day! Here’s an article titled “12 Things Wedding Photographers Want to Tell You, But Can’t” that you might find interesting! We WOULD tell you the answers to most of these; in fact, we might have already just reading thru this F.A.Q. page!

Why is photography so expensive?

Here’s a decent, if not contrite, example… “Why Wedding Photographers’ Prices are “Wack”

We understand that there are a lot of photographers out there that offer more for less. What we like to believe is that you want to hire us not just for our products or services but also for our dream. Our vision is what we want you to be excited about. Our vision drives us to provide the honest and fun pictures that we deliver. We love hanging out with you and get really excited about approaching your special day with our unique artistic interpretations. Mostly, we just love making you laugh and capturing those moments. Our approach is to get knee deep in your day; we help you develop your timeline and shot list, provide resources and referrals, encourage easy and open communication, offer helpful direction and advice. We are involved from start to finish and capture your day in a photojournalistic manner that streamlines the post process and album design process.

With Still Music as your photographers, you’re getting a creative team to help you with anything you might need. We’ve worked tirelessly together to build what the company is today. You get two sets of eyes, Erin and Jeremy's, on your day and on your images from start to fruition. We see that your final products are our best, and with a male and female perspective, you’re getting the most well-rounded services and products we can provide.

What if you die? Emergencies?

Then the world will weep and you’ll get your money back thru our sources. If we’re not forced to stay in a hospital, we’ll be there – if needed, Jeremy will take lead and will hire one of our other experienced associates to help. And of course, if we are able, we’ll find an experienced and available photographer we trust to refer to you. Basically in our contract it says we’re not responsible for “acts of God.” But we love Him so don’t worry.

Should we do a first look?

Entirely up to you! We definitely encourage you to consider it—it makes your day more fun, more relaxed and you get to hang out with your guests more. The “first look” is a new trend that many, or most, photographers support whole heartedly. Instead of postponing all those portraits til after the ceremony, you’re seeing each other before the ceremony. This is a very intimate moment, and cannot be replicated any other way. You will have no private moment like this after the ceremony, because everyone will be so excited and your photographers will be bossing you around. Portraits are usually a rushed and stressful affair after the ceremony since you have a small amount of time to corral a ton of people and get a ton of shots. With the portraits done before, you can take your time with your photographers, bridal party and family. Erin always tells our couples “I was very against it, but I’m really glad we did it because it's like I got TWO special moments!” from our Resource Page

Should I put together a Pinterest page if I don’t have one yet?

Pinterest can be a double-edged sword, so careful! There are a lot of amazing images being shared on Pinterest. It is so overwhelming that brides start to compile images from other peoples’ weddings hoping that their photographer can take the same pictures. It goes back to the shot list—we hope that you’re hiring your photographer for their creativity and not to copy someone else’s. Eliminating this expectation will give total freedom and allow your photographers to do their best, most creative work. With that said, Pinterest is an amazing resource. There are so many ideas and beautiful pictures. It can help you organize your ideas and share with us what you imagine your day looking like. In the meantime you should check out our Pinterest page!

But beware! Pinterest addiction can change your expectations about your wedding images. Read this article about photographers’ beef with Pinterest.

Will both Jeremy and Erin shoot at our wedding?

2017 looks a little different; we still offer 2 shooter packages, but Erin will be taking on other roles in the company. We have a talented pool of associates to reach out to for 2nd shooting. In life or death cases, we may be forced to reach out to our extended network of photographers that work with us. As the lead shooter, Jeremy will be there so long as he can see and hold a camera, even if he’s in a wheelchair.

How many images will we receive?

Usually at least 500 and more often 600-800 for 8 hours of coverage; but we can’t guarantee a certain number of images. A good place to start is around 100 images per hour. This includes a variety of color and B&W images, all editing and color work meticulously completed for each. You’ll receive your images via download or USB thumb drive with your album.

So we get color and black and white versions?

Whenever we convert an image to B&W, we try to provide a color version of the same image. The times that we don’t, we don’t prefer the image in color; either the colors are dull or are too extreme to correct. Sometimes we’ll convert an image if it’s blurry or mis-focused, IF I feel the image works in B&W as a more artistic interpretation. So part of it is preference, but we try to use our artistic experience/eye to make these decisions. With that said, if there were a color version that we felt worked well, we will include it!

Who does the editing? Do you outsource your processing?

Jeremy does all of our post processing with the help of Erin. All of our post processing stays in-house so you know you’re getting OUR work, and not someone else’s interpretation of our work. We won’t outsource your images unless under the most extreme circumstances.

Should we book an engagement session?

YES. We love hanging out with our couples before their wedding. It’s usually accompanied by a lot of laughter and high fives. It makes you more comfortable and creates some expectations of what your day will be like with us holding huge cameras in front of your beautiful faces all day. We get to know you more as we hear more about your story and see you interact with each other. Our ideal e-sesh is one where we get to join you two on some fun adventure that you’d like to do together anyways. That way there’s a story and we get to capture you both being your most comfortable selves. It’s definitely awkward having giant cameras clicking all around you, so we try to get you to interact with each other to take your mind of your celebrity status. We like to say it’s time to “get in touch with your inner celebrity.” We try to schedule e-sesh’s on weekdays 1-2 weeks out. Our availability is much more open during the off season, Nov-April, and we make exceptions, knowing that not everyone can come over the hill on weekdays. We ask that you come to Santa Cruz and enjoy the warm sunny beach weather, altho we have traveled within a reasonable distance to accommodate – it just depends on when and where. Weekdays are best since traffic is lightest and the towns and beaches are less crowded – something to keep in mind. We always do our best to accommodate!

How else can we plan for our day to go smoothly?

Definitely the timeline and the shot list will help us prepare for your wedding (See top of the page). Also, here’s an article about planning for lighting on your wedding day: “How to Plan for Lighting on your Wedding Day”