FAQ

WILL YOU TRAVEL FOR MY WEDDING?

Yes! Travel is included for weddings within 100 miles round-trip of Brentwood, California, where we’re based. Each wedding is unique and travel costs will always be spelled out within your wedding agreement ahead of time. Since we shoot primarily in Seattle, San Francisco and Manhattan, we might even be in your area already! We make every attempt to minimize additional costs for our clients, choosing to drive instead of flying, staying with family and friends and flying inexpensively.

CAN I PRINT MY OWN PHOTOS?

All of our packages include the digital files from your wedding. Edited AND high resolution WITHOUT watermarks. What you see in our portfolio is what you get. All purchases of digital negatives come with a personal use license, which allows you to print your photos yourself. We retain the services of a select few professional photo labs based in the United States for fine art photographs. Our monitors are especially calibrated with these labs for accurate color production and clarity. Since every printer is different, we can only guarantee exceptional printing from our own prints. For 2014 and beyond, if you will be uploading any wedding images to social media, we request you use the watermarked web optimized files included with your files.

Short version: 8x10s and smaller you could likely print locally with no problems – anything larger than that, you should invest through Ahava Studios in a high-quality fine art print that will last generations.

CAN I GIVE COPIES OF MY PHOTOS TO FAMILY & FRIENDS?

According to your personal use license, you may not make copies of images for family and friends. Ahava Studios still retains the copyright in 99% of our weddings, so sharing the high-resolution images with others is a violation of copyright law. Ultimately, it’s based on the honor system – there’s nothing built in to our images to prevent duplication.

We’ve made it extremely easy for family and friends to get their own copies, though! High-resolution image downloads are available in your online gallery for purchase, which is an incredibly cost-effective way to legally share your wedding images with family and allow them to make their own prints while not having to go through the pain and hassle of dividing up images.

WHAT IS YOUR BACKUP PROCESS?

Our backup processes and redundancies have been fine-tuned and altered since we began shooting in 2009. We run Backblaze 100% of the time, which is backing up via cloud our computer hard drive, which has the current working files of the season.

The night of a wedding, we download from the CF cards the entire wedding (an average of 70-100GB per wedding) onto one hard-drive, our primary iMac. At the same time, those original files are backed up to a separate hard-drive not connected to the iMac and high-resolution jpgs of the originals are exported from the raw files. Those high-resolution originals are uploaded to a separate cloud-based server.

At any given time, there’s at least three virtual workable copies of all the client files available via hard drive access and then cloud-based storage. In addition, DVD copies are burned to DVDs and keep off-site, in the event of a break-in, fire, electrical issue, act of God, etc.

Memory cards are not re-formatted until at least three different processes have been completed, and we have separate cards for personal use, weddings and portrait sessions.

HOW LONG DO YOU KEEP OUR FILES?

Original files are kept for one year after the wedding date. Your online gallery is available for six months after the gallery is uploaded. If you’d like your gallery extended, please let us know.

WHAT FORMS OF PAYMENT DO YOU ACCEPT?

All of the standard forms of payment – cash, check and credit cards. We prefer check, as we don’t have to pay credit card processing fees. We also accept hugs and good karma, though the bank doesn’t seem to take those as forms of currency.

HOW MANY WEDDINGS DO YOU BOOK A YEAR?

We book less than 30 weddings per year to provide the best and most comprehensive support each couple deserves. Booking typically happens 6-15 months in advance, though we have been booked as late as one week!

WHEN DID YOU START SHOOTING WEDDINGS?

We shot our first wedding in 2009. Before shooting weddings, Stephanie was a newspaper photojournalist, which is where her candid eye was developed. Since 2009, Stephanie has primary shot over 125 weddings. Ryan began shooting full-time with Ahava in 2011 and has shot over 70 weddings himself. Ryan and Stephanie attended college at Humboldt State University, six hours north of San Francisco along the North Coast. She graduated in 2008 with a Bachelors in Journalism and PR with a minor in Anthropology. She was one semester from a second degree in Cultural Anthropology and may return in the future. For more info on Stephanie and Ryan, read our story.

DO I NEED A SECOND SHOOTER?

We highly, highly recommend a second photographer, as they can catch different angles and maximize coverage during pivotal moments. Depending upon the length and size of your wedding, we may require a second or third photographer, which will always be spelled out in your contract and discussed during our initial consultation. We’re pretty awesome separately, but even better as a team. Most couples who invest in just Stephanie add on Ryan after meeting him during the engagement session. :)

I HATE GETTING MY PICTURE TAKEN.

This is something we hear ALL the time. You are SO not alone. Most people are not comfortable in front of the camera – Stephanie included. Usually it takes 15 minutes of chatting, snapping pictures and walking around before you get comfortable about being front and center. Our clients that invest in an engagement session are always more comfortable and relaxed on their wedding day and it shows in their images –  we’ve already spent 2 hours shooting together, sharing a meal or drinks and chatting so the wedding day is a piece of cake by the time your day is here!

DO YOU SHOOT FILM OR DIGITAL?

Stephanie currently shoots digital for weddings and commercial projects; film for personal projects. Inquire about film rates for wedding collections.

DO YOU HAVE BACKUP GEAR?

Do we ever! We carry multiple camera bodies, lenses, duplicates of favorite lenses, memory cards, flashes, batteries and more. We’re Nikon all the way. One of the many reasons you hire a Professional Wedding Photographer is because they’re prepared. All of these circumstances have happened during a wedding:

1. Primary Camera fails
2. Car gets broken into and everything stolen
3. Shooting while possibly wearing my own vomit (be sure to ask about this one!)

Hiring a professional means without breaking a sweat or batting an eye, they pull out their backup camera and keep shooting with no interruptions to the client if something goes wrong. The couple never knew that night our car was broken into while shooting that something had gone wrong. With liability insurance, business licenses, backup gear, indemnification insurance – you’re secure with Ahava Studios.

We’re not just prepared to shoot – we’re prepared for you, too. Included in Stephanie’s camera bag is her Bride Bag, complete with clear nail polish, light perfume, a set of classic pearls and spare earrings, trauma scissors, tampons, q-tips, pain medication, boob tape and more. We come PREPARED. 

Ahava Studios