How would you describe your style? 

I’m a photojournalist at heart. It’s what I do every day for the newspaper and I take that same approach when I photograph weddings. I look for emotions and moments. II work hard to be unobtrusive and to put people at ease--then I take pictures.  

How are you different than other wedding photographers? 

Shooting weddings in a photojournalistic style is different that shooting is as a photojournalist. For over 10 years I've worked as a professional newspaper photographer and I have a passion and an eye for moment driven photography. My job at the newspaper is to tell stories every day with photographs, and I take the same approach when photographing a wedding. I tell the story of your wedding through photography. 

Do your clients own the photographs? 

Yes, absolutely. The cost of hiring me includes everything, including complete ownership of your wedding photos. I believe that my clients should own their own wedding photos. That’s a difference between my approach and the bulk of wedding photographers. There has been a long tradition in wedding photography to quote a low price up front and then charge for reprints and enlargements at markups of up to 300%. I think that’s misleading at best, unethical at worst. By owning your photographs couples can better budget for the cost of wedding photography. By owning your images you can make them available online through sites like Shutterfly and Google Web Albums for friends and family to make prints at substantial discounts. 

More importantly to me, I feel that since I am not relying on income from the reprints I'm given more artistic freedom. I have a single focus--to document your wedding through documentary, moment-driven photography. 

How do you deliver the photographs and are they edited? 

While photographing your wedding is the fun part, editing and toning the photos afterwards can be just as important. I typically edit and tone 700-900 photos for each wedding. Looking through an unedited collection can be overwhelming. That’s why edit a smaller selection of only the best photos (typically around 60). I edit, tone and sequence these select photos in the same way I’d edit a picture story for the newspaper.  

All photos will be ready to print and will be delivered by DVD within four weeks. 

Do you photograph in color or black & white? 

I initially photography everything in color and include the original RAW files on your final DVD. However, as part of the creative editing process I selectively convert some images to black and white or sepia. This provides couples with a diverse and artistic set of images. 

Can I share my wedding photos on Facebook or Flickr? 

Yes, absolutely. On the DVD I also include a low resolution versions of the edited and toned photographs sized specifically for sharing online. 

Do you work with the bride to create the photos she wants? 

Absolutely. It's all about the bride! I understand each couple has different needs and I will work to accommodate them. Whether that means shooting more posed photographs before the ceremony, concentrating on candids or making sure to get plenty of photos of the $500 cake, I am happy to take direction from brides (and grooms!) to create a wedding portfolio that best captures their day. 

How many weddings do you typically photograph each year? 

I usually photograph 5-10 weddings each year, and over time have photographed more than 100. My full time job is as a staff photojournalist for the Pioneer Press in St. Paul, Minnesota. At the Pioneer Press I shoot sports assignments like the Vikings and Twins, political stories, portraits, documentary projects, breaking news and HD video. Recently I published a documentary photography book called Ant Farm. I also freelance for a number of editorial clients, including the New York Times and Washington Post. My editorial work is online at www.bengarvin.com 

Do you take formal portraits as well as candid photographs? 

Yes , I always set aside time to do formal portraits. While formal portraits sometimes may not feel as important to the bride and groom, you can be sure moms, dads and grandparents see them as a matter of life and death. Group portraits can be a lot of fun, too, especially with the right planning. It’s the one time during the wedding where I take control and tell people what to do. Having a list emailed by the couple of specific arrangements often helps the group photos run smoothly. I also bring in strobe lighting for interior locations. 

Do you charge for travel? Do you shoot location weddings? 

Twin Cities area travel is included in pricing. I charge $100 per hour travel beyond the metro area. And yes, I shoot on-location weddings. I've photographed location weddings in New Orleans, Baltimore, Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas and others. Please get married in Puerto Vallarta in January, ok? Contact me for location pricing. 

Are you available after the wedding if we have questions? 

Definitely. Clients are welcome (and encouraged) to call or e-mail me with post-wedding questions of any sort. 

What if we want to meet you first and make sure you're not a slime ball who will ruin my wedding? 

That’s an excellent idea. I’m eager to meet with couples to dissipate slime-ball fears. I realize there are many choices for wedding photography and I encourage couples to find a photographer they feel comfortable with. Setting up a meeting also allows me to show more work, discuss pricing options and it gives me a chance to learn more about you and your expectations. 

How do I hire you? 

-I’ll send you a contract to sign. 

-You send me a $500 deposit (with signed contract). 

-I’ll lock in your wedding date on my calendar. 

-We’ll be in touch a couple weeks before your wedding to discuss the day’s schedule and other details. 

How can I contact you? 

Call or e-mail anytime: