Professional Photographer DC, MD, VA
Award Winning Wedding Photographer
Steve Whysall is the winner of The Gold and The Silver Award in international competitions sponsored by the Artistic Guild of the Wedding Photojournalist Associations. (AG)WPJA is comprised of outstanding wedding photographers.
My photography career has taken me on a 20 year marvelous journey from a graduate at The Corcoran Gallery of Art in Photography, to a 5 year stint as an Assistant Photographer for Richard Nowitz, a famous National Geographic photographer, to opening my own photography studio in Frederick, MD.
For the National Geographic, I shot some aerial photos that were used in a book about our nation's capital.
I have photographed travel destinations for Conde Nast and World Magazine.
As a photojournalist for Greenpeace, I was responsible for photographing toxic environments for several ad campaigns.
Another assignment took me to the Badlands of South Dakota where I lived among the Sioux Indians. While there I developed a series of photographs telling a story of these proud people, their rich culture and how the modern world has impacted their survival.
Why do I need a professional photographer?
In today’s age of high technology cameras, many people think they can take their own photos for their website or print media, letting the camera do all the work. They think they can just fix everything in Photoshop so they don’t need an expert photographer. It doesn’t work that way. A digital camera is just an extension of the old film cameras where you still have to understand how to get a correct exposure. Also, you need expert training to compose people and products in a professional way. Just having a “good eye” doesn’t make your photos look professional. All you have to do is look at websites with amateur photography, and other marketing mediums such as print to see the disastrous results. Some luck out and make acceptable photos, but imagine how much better their sites would look with professional imagery.
Professional photography helps businesses make more money.
I use proven techniques that show your products or you with deep, rich colors, and know how to design products so they pop in the frame. Sometimes I use clean and even lighting, and sometimes I choose a more dramatic and colorful lighting. For commercial jobs I will interview you extensively to understand your vision, and your goals, so I can create your sales message visually. You want to include enough elements to make your message sell dramatically, but not too many that it looks cluttered.
My powerful lighting will make you pop!
Lighting is the heart of professional photography. With my lighting and composition, the goal is to bring your products to life on the screen. For small, delicate products such as jewelry, there is a method to doing this that only a true professional understands so that every stone shines, and every piece is in focus. My expert lighting will showcase your website with powerful imagery.
Commercial Photography Services
Wedding Photographer Services
Sadly, I can’t tell you how many times my brides and grooms have told me the disaster stories about friends who hired a friend to shoot their wedding, only to be sorely disappointed in their photography. Even worse is when they hire a professional photographer and are completely dissatisfied. Your wedding day happens only once, and it should be captured by a real professional photographer.
How do you tell if someone is a real professional photographer?
You need to study the photographs in the portfolio with a critical eye, and try not to get swayed by the pretty photos. Look for negative space. For instance, many “professionals” shoot horizontals when a vertical would have been better. So look at the space from left to right of the main subject on a horizontal photo. Can you cover the spaces with a piece of paper without ruining the look? If so, there is too much negative space and it could be better. Look where the photographer cut off the photo of the people. Was it at the waist, the feet, the shoulders? Many professionals shoot and cut the people so they look weird. Do the colors look muddy and blah? When you interview your photographer, ask to see his or her portfolio under all lighting conditions from bright sunlight, to cloudy days, to dark nights. The range of light will help you to see whether they can handle an 8 hour assignment.
Some questions to ask your professional photographer:
How many lenses do you have and for what purpose?
What are your lighting techniques, and how do you implement them?
Are you licensed and bonded?
Do you have props and backdrops?
Do you have an emergency contingency plan if you get sick?
What is your training and education for professional photography?
Do you charge extra for travel? How far will you travel without charging extra?
Do you shoot alone? Or do you have another photographer cover the event with you?
Do you charge extra for the negatives?
How long do you keep my negatives?
How many photos will I get?
What is your experience level and for how long?
What is your event style, documentary, traditional, or artistic?
What do you focus on when you shoot an event?
When it comes to wedding photography, these are my top 7 FAQ:
1. How does having two photographers work on the day of our wedding?
We show up and begin setting our lights up immediately. Then I photograph the bride, her family, and her wedding party getting ready, while my second shooter shoots the groom and the groomsmen getting ready. During the ceremony I stand behind the bride and groom, capturing the event from that perspective. The second photographer shoots at an angle to capture another perspective. After the ceremony we shoot the posed pictures for about 15 minutes and then send you into the reception room to enjoy your time with your family and friends. Periodically as the sun moves we pull the bride and groom from the reception area to shoot for about 15 minutes some artistic and romantic shots. Then we send you back into the reception area again. We do this periodically throughout the day and evening as the sun changes to give you amazing artistic photographs that you can treasure for a lifetime. How do we do this? I understand how to see where the sun is, and calculate where it will be when it’s time to take the posed photographs. So there’s no waiting around for hours while the photographer gets all the posed photos. This comes from my 20+ years of professional photography experience.
2. How much do you cost, and how do we pay you?
From $1,000 to $5,500 you can hire me to shoot your wedding. I typically require a 50% deposit to secure the date, but can offer financing if your budget is tight.
3. Why should I hire you over the competition?
We all have a photography style and various levels of experience and training. I graduated top in my class at The Corcoran, which resulted in me getting chosen to accompany a National Geographic photographer on assignments when approached at my school to select the best student for an apprenticeship. I apprenticed for 5 years on travel assignments and earned more about the technical aspects of photography than I did in college. My photography style is a combination of traditional, fine art, and documentary. You get all three perspectives for your wedding.
4. I’ve got an emergency and I need to change my date.
It’s terrible when an emergency happens and it affects your wedding date. I do my best to be accommodating and respectful when that happens. I’ve changed dates, and will be flexible as much as possible, but if you make several date changes I cannot guarantee that we can accommodate you. I had a bride whose father died shortly before her wedding. We all rearranged our schedules to change her date further into the future to allow her to grieve and bury her dad. But, I’ve also had a bride who changed her date, then changed it a second time, where I had to enforce no more changes. Please remember, when I reserve your date I turn away all future work for that date.
5. What end product do we get and how many photos?
You will get all edited full sized files on a thumb drive with a joint copyright image release to use them online or in print however you chose. The number of images is based upon the wedding package chosen, and is never an exact amount. Please remember that quantity is not quality. You don’t need your photographer padding a wedding to meet some arbitrary goal.
6. Do you shoot more than one wedding per day?
Absolutely not. Your date is reserved regardless of the package chosen.
7. When will we get our wedding photos?
You will get your photos within 2-3 weeks from the date of your wedding. Some take sooner, depending on the size and scope of the event.
Through my wedding photography, I provide each couple with a beautiful documentary of your very special day. Using a photojournalist approach, I capture the intimate moments throughout the day along with the personality of you and your guests to provide a rich pictorial and a life long memory of your wedding day.
Commercial photography work includes gourmet food, products, head shots, real estate, engagement sessions, fitness, industrial, editorial, and much much more.
Finally, during my career, I have received several honors, including The H.E. Klappert Memorial Award for Photography. I am the winner of The Gold and The Silver Award in an international competition sponsored by the Artistic Guild of the Wedding Photojournalist Associations. (AG)WPJA is comprised of outstanding wedding photographers.
Wedding Client Concerns
I hate being photographed! It makes me feel uncomfortable.
Many don't like getting their pictures taken, not even I LIKE IT! We all feel a little self-conscious. One thing I like to do is meet with the bride and groom within a week or two of the wedding to get re-aquainted. Believe it or not, this helps ME take better professional pictures of you! Getting comfortable with each other is very important to make your experience better, and to provide better photos. On the day of your wedding while we are working I show you the photos in the camera, so you can get a sense of how they are looking great. I have found that this helps the bride and groom to relax, and trust that everything is going well.
I have no idea how to stand for the posed photos
Don't worry about that. I will guide you on how to separate your feet, where to put your hands, how to turn at an angle, all the things you need to create a beautiful portrait. This is why you hire a professional photographer, to help you look your best by posing you and taking your photo in the most flattering way. My goal is to make each bride and groom feel like they could be in a GQ magazine regardless of age or weight.
I don't want the couple's photos in front of a large crowd
We don't take all the photos right after the wedding ceremony. My style is to pull the bride and groom away from the crowd, periodically, and shoot some romantic photos of just the two of you, in an intimate, quiet area. This also helps build trust that as your professional photographer, I am in charge of your day! Once it is just the bride and groom and the photographers, we take a few romantic and photojournalistic photos of the two of you, for about 15 minutes. Then I send you into the wedding reception room. Whenever I see the sun move, change color, or discover a new and interesting place to take a photograph, I pull the bride and groom aside, shoot for another 10-15 minutes, and send you back to the wedding reception again. I do this periodically through the afternoon and evening, gathering interesting photographs that showcase your unique story as the sunlight changes. I find it to be less intrusive, more fun, and we get more natural looking photographs at the end of your wedding.
I Want A Photo Just Like I Saw On Pinterest
Some brides fall in love with a photo they saw on Pinterest, or other social media, and they want to recreate it. I love to recreate photos, however I always add MY twist to it. It won't be identical. But, it will be professional.
About My Professional Wedding Experience
I tend to focus on the bride and groom, and the emotions of the day. I strive to shoot my couples photos in a fine art style, making you feel like a magazine model. Also, I shoot in a photojournalist style, capturing all the little moments when no one seems to be looking. If you want a professional who captures your wedding in a fine art style, with some traditional posed portraits, and powerful couples shots with expert lighting, then I am the guy for you.
A little about my commercial photography
Gourmet Food Photographer
I style your food photography
As a former chef at high-end exclusive restaurants around the world, I understand from conception to presentation how to display your gourmet dish. My professional chef experience is how I am able to save you money on a food stylist. All my food photos in my commercial gallery I styled myself.
Bring your products to life
For small, delicate products, such as jewelry, you want the entire piece to be in focus. There is a method to doing this that only a commercial photographer understands. Shooting your piece so every stone shines, and every area is tack sharp cannot be done just because you sit next to a window, and shoot in a natural light scenario.
Professional Photographer who feels how to show your products vision
When I photograph products I have to feel my vision of what to include in the sales message. I keep tweaking and thinking about the message and what to include with the products. You want to include enough elements to share your message, but not too many that it looks cluttered. Once it feels right then I begin shooting. This is what makes me a professional.
I use proven photography techniques that show your commercial products with deep, rich colors, and tap into my unique feeling to make your products pop in the frame. Sometimes I use clean even lighting and sometimes I choose a more dramatic, colorful lighting. It depends how the product feels.
I am not a "Natural Light" Photographer
A true professional photographer is not a "natural light" photographer. A professional understands how to light the set with years of learning. You pay a professional to light your products with expert lighting techniques. This skill set is dying with the advent of digital cameras and photography schools that just don't stress this anymore. The old school photographers, like me, who were taught using film, and who developed their own photos in a dark room, really grasp the technical aspects of photography. Never trust a photographer who claims to be a natural light photographer.
What this really means is they don't understand "complex" lighting scenarios.
Head Shots Photographer
Commercial head shots with bold lighting. My National Geographic training is where I learned my expert lighting techniques. Make your business portraits stand out!
Why You'll Be Happy With My Photography
Having graduated top in my class at The Corcoran I was chosen to accompany a professional NATGEO photographer for 5 years on travel jobs. But, my art school didn't teach me how to become an expert in lighting. My NATGEO experience did. What art school did teach was art, and how to create great compositions. This realIy helped for the portrait sessions to pose you in the most flattering angles to make you look your best.
NATGEO not only taught me the expert lighting skills, but I learned how to think quickly on my feet to problem solve. I hope I have given you a sense of my photography style and how I work.
If you have any questions, such as copy right use or how far I will travel, please give me a call or shoot me an email.