Let's answer some frequently asked questions!
• WHAT IS YOUR STYLE?
I anticipate images. I'm an UNOBTRUSIVE storytelling documentary photographer. In fact, you can IGNORE me. Yes please. Tell your friends and family too. I much prefer it that way. After all, you don't want the cliche cheesy wedding images, right? I photograph your day as it unfolds without forcing direction and capture the life of your wedding as authentically as possible. I'll also click some creative pictures of the two of you and group photos, an integral part of the day
• WHEN DID YOU START IN PHOTOGRAPHY?
I've a full-time professional photographer since 1992, weddings since 2006. I've been drawing since a kid, and then I picked up my first camera around 13 or 14 years old. I still sketch, but I do it with a camera. Good fortune has been my life. I got a break working on a local newspaper shooting news stories, sports, handshake pics, and not only developed my craft but most importantly, I had great mentors who taught me a lot! I then traveled the world for ten years before meeting my wife who hails from San Antonio, Texas. This Brit, now American, settled in Texas in 2006.
• DO YOU HAVE A STUDIO?
Yes. I have a cozy studio adjacent to our home. Appointments by request. If this is too far to meet, or hey, you just don't want to deal with traffic, then we can Skype, FaceTime, or you know, speak via a telephone.
• Me and my fiancé are uncomfortable having our pictures taken. How can you help us during the wedding ?
Well that's how I feel too. Seriously. I'm a very calm, mellow person (some even say I'm funny) who tends to blend into the scene rather than bring attention to myself. I have this British accent which helps, apparently. Combined with my documentary style, will have you both used to me within the 30 minutes of getting-ready time. The only time you’ll really be aware of the cameras is the family group photo and the creative portraits. You can just be you, and I will take care of the rest.
• What camera gear do you use?
Top of the line tools used are a blend of digital and film Leica Rangefinders, steeped in cultural history, these type of cameras are completely manual, quiet and unobtrusive. I use a Leica M3 film camera and a couple of digital M10's. Lenses used are a Leica Noctilux 50mm f0.95 among other prime lenses. I also love using a medium format Mamiya RZ67 film camera for landscapes and portraits
• Should I give you a shot list?
You will see that I'm very thorough and I cover the wedding day including all the decor and details as I find them. There is no need to provide a shot list. The only list that I might need is a list of the family group shots. If I have one of those detailed shot lists from the internet that your photographer must cover, then I really cannot focus on delivering what you hired me for in the first place.
• What do I need to book you for our wedding?
A $1500 retainer toward your final balance and a signed contract will secure your date. All bookings are on a first come, first served basis. I book up to two years in advance. You really should check my availability. It will save your valuable time.
• Do you shoot internationally?
Yes. I photograph Texas statewide, all over North America and Europe, passport ready. I love shooting in my home base of San Antonio, Texas. 50% of my weddings are in Houston, Austin, Dallas, and the Texas Gulf. My recent weddings were in New York, New Jersey, Washington DC, Santa Fe and California.
• How many images do you shoot?
It varies with every wedding that I shoot so there is no set answer. I'm not a 'machine gunner' hoping to get lucky shots. I think, anticipate and react to moments ensuring great images every time. 'Less is more'. Quality over quantity.
• When must I choose the album design?
Aim to have your final approval within 60 days of the first release date as the whole process can otherwise get delayed with other clients weddings. This way I can give you the full attention you deserve.
• Do we get a choice of Black and White or color?
I capture mostly digitally, and some black and white film with a Leica M3. Brides trust me to choose according to my artistic interpretation at the point of capture. It's a blend of color and black and white and great care is taken over the final file/prints.
• What is your inspiration for your work?
My hero of sorts is a French photographer, Henri Cartier-Bresson. He is considered the master of candid photography and was one of the early pioneers of street photography. It's his particular early work that I'm drawn to. Cartier-Bresson was uniquely talented at capturing decisive moments using geometry, composition, form, and balance in his images. I have many photographers I enjoy reading about and if you come to my studio you'll see a huge stack of books. Right now, I'm reading and learning about Eve Arnold (you know, the one who became friends and photographed Marilyn Monroe). Books are my number one source of inspiration.
• Do you have a list of your favorite vendors?
This is not a concrete list. I work with anyone but these are certainly solid charming pros. For San Antonio https://www.philipthomas.com/best-san-antonio-wedding-vendors/ and if you're in Houston, Texas click this list: https://www.philipthomas.com/best-houston-wedding-vendors/
• What albums do you use?
Beautiful Italian made GraphiStudio. I include books in all custom packages. Oh and they're made in Italy. Yes, Italy!
• How long will it take to receive my album?
Delivery will depend on how long you take to order. I personally custom designs the album layouts. All albums designs and online proofing are available for ninety days once they have been released to you. You're allowed up to three free design changes. Generally, it can take up to four weeks once the design is approved by you as the books are handcrafted in Alba, Italy. Your custom designed album will be one of a kind and well worth the wait.
• How do we know it will be you who shoots our wedding?
I personally shoot all of my weddings, most with an experienced second shooter. I also shoot small weddings solo (50-75 guests) for a reduced fee.
• What about engagement or bridal sessions?
Higher end packages include a bridal or engagement session. Or you simply add an engagement session a la carte. If you don't want a bridal or engagement shoot, that's fine too. I custom design packages.
• Do you employ second shooters on the day?
I personally shoot all of my weddings and most of the time with a second experienced shooter. No outsourcing here
• Do you have liability insurance?
I take your privacy seriously. I do not sell or redistribute your information to anyone, ever. I occasionally send out newsletters or promotional e-mails to our couples and to those who register to view their online galleries.
• Can I have the RAW files (negatives unedited)?
I do not release RAW files. What you will receive are a blend of black and white and color images, beautifully edited jpeg files, along with a printing release. The release gives you full ability to print the photographs whenever and wherever you would like.
• Can I order prints from you?
Absolutely! My printing company is incredible. You will have the option to order professional prints through your online gallery/shopping cart. The gallery with all your wedding photos will be online for 4 months, along with free shipping on over $100 order and a two for one print offer the first 30 days.
• Can we receive the outtakes?
During my editing process I remove and delete images that do not meet my standards for delivery. This can be anything from tests shots, repetitive images, shots where I unintentional overexpose or underexpose, etc. I deliver all of the images that don’t fall into those undeliverable categories. The outtakes are not archived, so they are not available.
• Do you also provide video services?
No, only photography. I have a list of referrals in the info menu.
• How can I book you?
Send me a email via the 'contact' above. You can also check your date is available before sending a email.
• What do we need to book you?
A signed agreement and a $1500 non-refundable retainer will hold your day with me. Final balance due 30 days before your wedding date.
• How do arrange travel?
I book all my travel like airfare and hotels if needed. If I shoot in San Antonio, or the Austin area there are no travel fees. If I shoot in Houston or the Gulf Coast area, then there's a $500 travel fee. If it's beyond that, there's an air fare, two nights hotel stay and perhaps a car rental to be added. And for international weddings, well, probably 3 nights.
• Refund Policy
I've have never had an unhappy bride, let alone a request for a refund, but the lawyers want this posted on our website in addition to being in the contract signed at booking. We go above and beyond to ensure that you will be thrilled and that you never have to think to ask about our refund policy. Don’t take my word for it though, read some of the independent client reviews we’ve received. With that being said, here is a message from legal: Philip Thomas Photography, LLC (STUDIO) and its photographers specialize in artistic, photojournalistic wedding photography. Due to the nature of event photography, STUDIO does not guarantee any specific image will be captured. CANCELLATION. Should the CLIENT cancel the reservation of the Wedding Date or cancel or breach this agreement, the STUDIO shall retain all deposits and fees paid up until the reservation is cancelled. The STUDIO reserves the right to hire a qualified subcontractor(s) to fulfill its obligations under this Agreement. In the event of an emergency rendering the STUDIO incapable of carrying out its obligations, the STUDIO will endeavor to obtain the services of a qualified and competent substitute. Should the Studio be unable to obtain a substitute, all deposits shall be refunded to the CLIENT as the CLIENT’S sole remedy. If the CLIENT cancels or postpones the original assignment date, if the STUDIO is available on the new date, the STUDIO reserves the right to issue a new contract and charge the most up to date pricing. The pricing provided on this agreement applies only to this agreement for the dates specified. LIABILITY. The CLIENT has hired the STUDIO for its expertise in providing wedding photography and the CLIENT acknowledges that photography is an art. Accordingly, the CLIENT defers to the Studio in determining the best way to document the wedding. The STUDIO shall not be liable for omissions caused by failure of the CLIENT to maintain all agreed sched¬ules or caused by delays due to inaccurate information provided by the CLIENT. The STUDIO shall not be liable for failures or faults in the manufacture or processing of materials or other causes that may reasonably be deemed beyond the control of the STUDIO. In the event such circumstances prevent the STUDIO from performing its obligations or delivering the agreed product or service, the CLIENT’S sole remedy shall be the refund of any deposits, as a Limitation on Damages as set forth in paragraph 19. Omissions or failure to produce specific images that may be discussed or proposed at a planning session shall not constitute a breach of this agreement and/or shall not result in a refund or other compensation to the CLIENT by the Studio.