Meet Our Wedding Photographer + Cinematographer


Realllllyyyyy excited for today's post! Get ready for the photo overload. Away we go!

We have much of our wedding planned, but the only contract we have signed is with our photographer and cinematographer! As a person who loves photos and documenting everything this was a priority number one for me. I really wanted someone who can capture our big day the same way we would have (but better) and not have to worry about it.

And that's where Michael comes in. 

So it's kind of a small world, and Michael is actually the brother of one of Andrew's best friends, Dan (Hi, Dan)! That is how I first found out about Michael Justin Studios. Long story short is that Andrew has a group of 100 guy friends (more like 15 but still a very big group) that have been friends since elementary school. It was at one of their wedding's a year or two ago I was on a bus with Dan talking about photography, etc. and he mentioned Michael. I went full stalker from there. I watched his YouTube videos, followed him on Instagram and peeped through his portfolio

Little did I know, but he was like *the* guy to have at your wedding. Even to this day when I tell people we booked him they oooh and aah over the thought of it. It's pretty fun for me, but I know he'll be laughing over the fact that I put this in (he's a humble guy)!

I never actually met him until Allison's wedding this past June (Allison is Andrew's sister for those of you at home keeping track). I was excited to see him in action, but little did he know I was actually watching him closely to see if I wanted to hire him for our wedding. At the time we weren't engaged but I knew it would be soon.

After the wedding, I remember recapping the next day and talking about how amazing his staff was. They worked SO hard at this wedding, were everywhere at once, ran around in the H.E.A.T and were so much fun to work with. We hadn't even seen the photos but just from their work ethic and passion, we were hooked.

Fast forward to two weekends ago when we were at an engagement party for Dan (Michael's brother) and his fiancĂ© Kaylee on Long Island. Here we were able to see Michael for a bit outside of a formal wedding setting. The vibes I get from him (again, after only meeting him twice in person) are amazing. He is the happiest, most ready-to-go kind of guy and I think the world of him! Who knows if he feels the same, but to me it feels right and he is my most trusted guy for our wedding. 

He even (this is how great he is) offered to take the above photos of Andrew and I at the party when he absolutely did not need to. Andrew joked that he didn't need to pitch us anymore, we were already in! And he was already so exhausted from a late night wedding party the night before and the exhaustion from a newborn at home! 

I don't know if I was just nervous or just being weird but I couldn't stop laughing during the couple of minutes we were taking photos. It was so weird and yet natural to have Andrew by my side and Michael behind the camera. 

With all of that (so much writing!!) we booked Michael and his crew for two amazing days in Nantucket to be our photography and cinematography groups! We decided to do two days because we're not having the traditional wedding, so I thought having the day before would be a perfect way to capture the full experience. I'm so excited to have Michael and group be with us!

SO enough about me and more about Michael Justin Studios. I wanted to share a quick Q+A with him that you guys submitted questions for via IG stories as well as some photos + videos from his weddings and from Allison's! Enjoy!!




How long have you been doing weddings?  
We’ve been shooting weddings since 2010. Originally we started as Michael Justin Films and only offered cinematography. In 2012 we changed our name to Michael Justin Studios and offered combined photo and video services. Out of the 25 weddings we do a year, 75% of our couples opt to hire us for both photo and video.   

What made you want to get into the industry? 
I kind of fell into the industry after a cross-country road trip turned surprise proposal to my girlfriend went viral (Krista note: I asked for this video to link and he is hoping you guys know that he has improved filming since then, which ...  duh!). I filmed the trip and proposal and put together a little video and the rest, as they say, is history!   

What do you remember most from your first wedding? 
How scared I was! It was actually on a boat and I had no idea what I was doing. I had read tons of articles and forums online to prepare but nothing can really get you ready quite like actual experience. I would say I look back at that wedding and cringe at the footage, however shortly after shooting the wedding, my hard drive fell off my desk and I lost everything. I learned the most valuable lesson on my first wedding, never put all your footage in one location. Luckily the couple who hired me wasn’t paying for the video so they were understanding, but what a way to start my career!  

What is your favorite thing to shoot during weddings? 
Emotion. Whether it’s tears, laughs, nerves -- I love when people open themselves up and show their true feelings. The results are really impactful images and films.    

What is your one piece of advice for brides when looking for a photographer/cinematography? 
Do NOT go solely off the fact that someone you know hired that same photographer/cinematographer. Be sure to talk - or better yet, meet - them and see if your visions are aligned as well as personalities mesh. I’ve unfortunately seen it too many times where a bride will come up to me in the middle of the day and apologize for another vendor b/c of how they were acting or what they were making them do.  

If you *had* to pick, would you rather shoot or film a wedding? 
This is like asking a parent which child they love better. You love them both for different reasons. I couldn’t pick but find beauty and challenges in both.    

What do you always find yourself telling your couples on their wedding day? 
Take a break from all the commotion and spend five minutes alone with one another (without us there too).   

Where would be your dream location to shoot a wedding? 
Italy! Literally anywhere in that beautiful country would be a dream! Anyone getting married there - let’s talk!    

What are the important questions to ask when selecting a photographer? 
There’s no set list of questions. Just talk to your photographer and have a conversation. Ask about their style and approach to capturing all the moments that happen in a wedding day, what inspires them, and what the process from signing until delivery looks like. If what they say sounds like something you would enjoy (and you like the photographs and films they deliver), then I’d say you’re golden!    

What's the best engagement/wedding pose you've shot? 
No two people or couples photograph the same, so to answer this question there is no such thing as a “best” pose. It’s up to the photographer to figure out what works and what doesn’t. One of the most important parts of the MJS experience is your engagement session where, for two hours, we photograph and get to know our clients. After the session when the images are delivered, we ask that our couples review the photos and give specific feedback on what they like and don’t like so that on the wedding day, we can focus on capturing images they are drawn to.    

Is it bossy or considered rude to give suggestions and ideas before the wedding? 
We give our couples a comprehensive timeline/day-of questionnaire to fill out prior to the wedding day. After they complete it we go through that document together and make sure we’re all on the same page. If there are any special requests for shots, we’ll gladly take note. We much prefer this method than a shot list because it allows us to shoot and react organically to the action. If we’re given a long list of shots, we’re spending our time looking at the list and possibly missing great moments to document.  

Are you supposed to tip your photographer? 
Totally up to you! We do not receive tips at every wedding but are very grateful and appreciative when we do receive them.   

Is more than one person needed? 
It’s our belief that yes, more than one shooter for both photo and video is necessary to deliver the kind of product our clients expect. Additional cameras enable us to capture not only the major action taking place, like you and your partner saying your vows, but also the more subtle ones like a parent or friend crying in the crowd.  

Whats the best way to find a photographer/ cinematographer? 
A recommendation from a family member or friend is a great starting point. If you trust their opinion and have seen the work that was delivered, you’re significantly increasing the chance of finding someone great (just remember to vet them yourself)! Searching online for photos or videos that were shot at your venue is also a great way to narrow down the list to reach out to. Make a list of your favorite studios and from those, narrow it down to your top four and then reach out. If you reach out to too many you’ll soon get caught in the trap of forgetting which studios did what work and why you liked them.   

Where do you get your photo inspiration from? 
Light. Always the light. Find good light and you can make magic in the most unexpected places!    

Is hiring a cinematographer for six hours enough time to capture a wedding day? 
In our opinion, no. However it will depend on your event and the style of your cinematographer. The typical weddings we shoot require at minimum eight hours of coverage because our clients are expecting a heavily narrative film that runs anywhere from seven minutes to 15 minutes. In order to have enough content to create a film of that kind, we’ll need to be present during the getting ready through most of the reception.  
You can follow Michael Justin Studios on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube HERE!
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