Sacramento Wedding Photography FAQ questions and answers page -- updated June 2010 

More Frequently Asked Questions
about Wedding Photography: 


Tips for planning

This is brand new information added to the website June 2010.


Helpful details to look at when planning an outdoor wedding or reception!


If you hire a professional wedding planner, she will probably go over most of these issues with you. If not, this info should help you avoid stress and surprises!


RAIN: Have a backup plan in case of rain! I have seen unexpected rain occur several times in my career during May, June & July when rain should have been almost impossible. It happens!



HOT WEATHER MELTS WEDDING CAKES (our own wedding cake started melting and nearly fell over.) Make sure the cake table is not in direct sunlight! (Also when locating your wedding cake's table, look at the background because photographs will record any ugly things like exit signs, coat racks and trash cans.)

COLD DRINKS FOR GUESTS: Hot weather makes guests miserable while waiting for the ceremony to begin, and while waiting for family portraits to be completed after the wedding. Have lots of ice cold drinks available for guests during those times.

COLD DRINKS DURING PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY: Heat will affect the quality of wedding pictures (people's expressions). The quality of those photos will be strongly influenced by the reliability of the person who is assigned to bring cold drinks to people being photographed after the ceremony in the "formals" portraits.

FLOWERS get wilted in hot weather. Talk with your florist about this or perhaps, choose silk flowers.

When my wife and I got married the church's air conditioner wouldn't work (it was a hot day in August.) In retrospect we were very glad my wife had chosen to go with silk flowers instead of real flowers which would have badly wilted that day. It was one less thing to go wrong.



Cold weather is less of a problem than hot weather (as long as it doesn't rain), you can always dress warmer or dance harder to generate heat.

Even in the summer, some sites get cold after sundown. So consider renting some portable propane heaters.

Guests sitting around talking instead of dancing, especially older folks, might appreciate propane heaters. Guests who are comfortable will stay longer and have fonder memories of your event.

And of course have a Plan B in case of rain.



Can anyone hear the minister during the ceremony?
Can anyone hear the vows?
How about music for the processional and recessional?


WIRELESS MICROPHONE FOR THE CEREMONY: Outdoor weddings really, really need a microphone and public address amplifier & loudspeaker.

Otherwise guests beyond the second row won't usually be able to hear the minister or vows. Traffic noise, wind noise, air conconditioner noise usually make it nearly impossible for guests to hear.


Solution: Have a microphone and amplifier for use by the minister. Ideally it should be a hand held mic and the minister can hold it right in the bride's and groom's face when they recite their vows. Vows are usually very quiet because the bride and groom are nervous and their voices don't have enough volume to reach the minister's microphone that's a foot or two away. The minister should be requested to use the mic in a way to make the vows heard.


Where do you get a wireless microphone?

1. Most disk jockeys (if you hire one) can provide this service. Some charge $150-200 over the regular rate to do this and others will include this service at no additional charge. But you MUST request this service in advance from them.

2. Photographer Doug owns a professional Shure UHF wireless microphone, plus amplifier and loudspeaker. Having seen so many outdoor weddings where nobody could hear anything, Doug purchased this rather expensive equipment to have it available. Ask Doug about availability if your disc jockey can't provide a wireless mic for the ceremony.

3. You can rent a wireless microphone and powered loudspeaker from an audio visual rental company. You will need some expertise to set it up properly, have someone monitor its operation during the ceremony, and have someone take charge of keeping the equipment safe and returned afterwards to the vendor. Professional powered speakers include an auxiliary input allowing you to plug in a CD or MP3 player as well as a microphone. Last time I checked, rental fees ran about $150-200.


Music for the ceremony: If you hire a disc jockey he can usually provide music for the ceremony's processional and recessional. Before you sign a contract ask about this service.

If you DON'T have a disc jockey, you can use a CD or MP3 player for the music. Although not ideal, a high end boom box sometimes works for ceremony music. A better solution is to use a high quality stereo system and speakers at the ceremony site. Have a boom box as a backup in case the stereo or wires fail.

The classic solution is to feed the CD or MP3 player's output into a professional sound system. For example, photographer Doug's wireless microphone and amplifier system can accept an input from a CD or MP3 player.



If you hire a professional videographer he will normally have a wireless microphone of his own which transmits to the video camera. Newer microphones will NOT normally interfere with a sound system's wireless microphone.

However the video and sound system microphones are not compatible - you can't piggyback off the videographer's wireless mic to use in a public address system (it would cause feedback problems.)

If you have an AMATEUR videographer, his on-camera mic probably will NOT pick up the minister or vows. The video camera needs to have a mic (or wireless mic) within several of feet of the bride and groom.

For that reason the best place for an amateur video camera is as close as possible to the ceremony itself - not at the back somewhere, because it just can't pick up good sound at a distance.

However if you have a good public address system, and the minister cooperates to hold the microphone up to the bride and groom's mouths during the vows, an amateur video camera may pick up the sound better.

(If you can afford it, professional video with a wireless mic is a nice thing to have.) 



ELECTRIC POWER PLUGS: City power is usually needed for public address systems, DJ music amplifiers, coffee makers, lights, catered food heaters, battery rechargers for the video person, etc. If you are going to have a public address system for the cermeony, explore whether a socket is available near the ceremony itself, and if so, is it turned on.

ANGLE OF THE SUN: Try to find out what angle the sun will be at during the ceremony. It's not good for guests to be facing directly into bright sun if it's possible to avoid that. The sun's angle changes every few weeks. So you should visit your wedding site about 10 days before the wedding in case you want to make a last minute change in the seating arrangements due to the sun's angle.

INSECTS may need bug zappers especially in mosquito areas, or at night when lights are on. Wedding guests who are kept comfortable stay longer and have fonder memories of your event.

DANCE FLOORS: If you rent a portable dance floor it could be affected by sprinklers or drainage so look into that. Also dance floors need to be installed level.

SPRINKLERS: If your site has automatic sprinklers try to find out what their schedule is.

CANDLES: For candles on tables use short candles in hurricane type housings. Have a fire extinguisher available just in case of wind knocking something over... CANDLES DURING THE CERMONY: Sometimes people use candles for an outdoor unity candle lighting. I like the concept but the majority of times I've seen it tried, the flames and wind wouldn't cooperate with each other.

FIRE EXTINGUISHERS: Have a fire extinguisher always nearby. At one outdoor reception I attended, a beautiful ceramic Mexican chimera heater suddenly shot flames up its chimney towards a tree. Nothing caught on fire but it was a very close call. Another chimera nearly caught a wooden deck on fire due to heat going through on its bottom.

WALKIE TALKIES: If the site is large or you want to coordinate arrivals from one side of the site to another, or parking and shuttle issues, you might want to have 2 or 3 walkie talkies available for coordination purposes. And fresh batteries. Consumer grade walkie talkies are lucky to run 4 hours on fresh batteries. And the walkie talkies' range is much shorter than what the package claims. In the real world a "2 mile range" walkie talkie will transmit 1/4 mile due to houses, buildings, and trees in the way. And they will hardly transmit at all from inside a car or truck.

LOCATION FOR PORTRAITS: It is helpful if you can pick out a location for family to be gathered for group portraits. Portraits will go much faster if people to be photographed can be gathered in one spot after the cermeony. Try to avoid letting anyone wander off "just for a minute" who will need to be in the pictures. What happens is they'll get chatting and you'll have to send a runner after them. Every time you do that it delays you from finishing the family pictures, and makes you later and later at getting on with the party.

The photographer may or may not be able to take group pictures at the location you've picked out. It will depend on what the lighting is like and this can change from one minute to the next.

For example a good photographer like Doug will avoid using "speckled lighting" where sunlight splotches shine randomly onto peoples' clothing in an uneven way. Also a good photographer will use a "fill flash" technique to back-light or side-light people to avoid harsh shadows and squinting. See fill flash link at the bottom of this page if you'd like to see examples of it.

WEDDING DAY SCHEDULE: Above all else, plan your wedding day SCHEDULE with the advice of your photographer, or with an experienced wedding planner.

The single biggest goof that brides make is to plan her day using an over-optimistic schedule. Then the real world happens: the hair appointment takes too long, the ceremony starts late, the photography takes longer than you thought, the limousine driver is in a hurry, the chef says the food is getting cold, and your stress level shoots up.

These problems and their stress are 100% avoidable --- just consult an experienced wedding photographer like Doug or a professional planner to help design your wedding day schedule. Listen to their experience because in the real world, Murphy's Law means things take longer than you think. You can avoid problems by staying on schedule (do NOT start your wedding more than 10 minutes later than the scheduled time), and plan an appropriate amount of portrait photography time into the schedule.


As your photographer, I want your wedding day to be stress free and awesome!

Cutting wedding photography costs?:Click here

How to print wedding photos: You can order them thru us, or thru a photo lab, or print them yourselves

Privacy Policy -- Privacy Statement for this website

Contract -- Wedding agreement Standard Contract for wedding photography

Fill flash:  -- Do you squint or blink a lot? What about heavy shadows outdoors? 

Cropping: -- Can a photo be printed to see details closer up?

Galleries -- See our wedding sample photos from several specific, individual weddings. Why that way?  Because bride magazines recommend customers look at samples from individual weddings, instead of just "best of" photos. This shows whether a photographer's style and quality remain consistent throughout a wedding.


Booking deposit $350. Phone or e-mail Doug to confirm your date (see CONTACT link at the bottom of the page.).
Copyright cleared, printable images oare available on archival CD or DVD disks.
Click here for info:
We perform photography in Sacramento, Roseville, Placer County, Elk Grove, Lake Tahoe, Dixon, Vacaville , Chico, Paradise --- no travel charge within 100 miles of Sacramento





Wedding tips!