Important Questions To Ask Your Photographer Before You Invest!

Mike and I have heard so many stories of brides not getting what they should have on their Best. Day. Ever! This is heartbreaking for us. So we’ve come up with a series of questions you should be thinking about when hiring a professional photographer. We care about your special day and don’t want you to have anything but good memories and fun stories! We’re here to help! M+J

CONGRATULATIONS on getting engaged!!

We are so excited for you and declare you will have

the Best. Day. Ever!!


photo by M+J Photography

You’re engaged!!  The planning has begun. If you’re thinking about how you can ensure you have the right photographers for your Best. Day. Ever! consider a few things.  After all, this day will be one of the few dates you remember forever, with only your memories and photographs to look back on.

A few things to consider to protect the most important things on your day. It’s also good for your peace of mind — know you’re in good hands with trusted professionals, and avoid the nightmare of alarming  things like “I didn’t get that photo” or you never get your photos or album that was promised.  Worse yet, your photographer doesn’t show!  This isn’t to alarm you, these are just things we have heard over the years and it’s unfortunate.  It breaks our hearts!!

The most important questions you will want to consider and/or ask the photographers you are considering for one of the most important days of your life.

1.  What exactly am I getting in this package?  

You will want to know exactly what is included OR worse yet, what is NOT included in your package or whatever terms you agreed upon.  Does the time they have committed to include travel time from ceremony to reception if in two different locations?  Do I get all my photos, some of my photos, a specific number of photos?  Are they ALL fully edited, high resolution images?  Am I going to have to choose which ones I want and how many of those are edited?  Are there extra cost with upgrading products, like keepsake albums (additional pages, engraving, etc.)?  Do you get photos of all the details, like the decor, tables and rings.

This will also tell you if they have an assistant, a second photographer and when a second photographer is necessary, and more!

2.  Have you photographed in this venue before?

This actually shouldn’t matter.  I know you may think it does but it doesn’t!  Let me explain further.  If a photographer is a good photographer, it won’t matter if they have taken photos of another wedding in that venue before.  A professional photographer is naturally creative!  They will actually have a fresh eye on backgrounds, places to take photos and much, much more!  Also a photographer should ALWAYS visit the venue PRIOR to the wedding scoping out locations for photos, backgrounds, lighting, sun placement, shadows and more.  In fact, this is a good time to do a walk through of the venue with your photographer approximately 30-45 days prior to your Best. Day. Ever!  If your photographer doesn’t plan on any of this, then they may not be a good fit.  However don’t close your mind to only choosing a photographer who has photographed the venue before.  It shouldn’t even be a consideration when choosing a photographer.

Besides, the time of day, the lighting, the sunset, the weather, the couple…. all things change.  Look at this photo we got the first time we ever photographed a wedding at Tom Hans Lighthouse.  These colors are real ladies!  Pinky Swear!


photo by M+J Photography

3.  Who is the photographer who will actually show to take photos?

Great question!  Are you hiring a photographer that works with a team of other photographers?  Make sure, make sure, make sure, you know who is planning on showing up.  This is critical.  This is the photographer you are sharing all your plans with for that day.  The person who should be taking notes on what photos you want, what part of the venue do you love the most, critical moments during your day that you want captured.  Are they actually the ones coming to take the photos?  And if so, what happens in the event of an emergency?  Who shows then?  Do they have a contingency plan?  If they do, how will they get all the necessary information and vision communicated?

4.  How long will it take for me to get my photos after my Best. Day. Ever!?

The truth is, post processing takes time.  If your photographer says you will be getting your photos in a couple of days, this is a red flag.  That brings me back to my first question regarding what are you getting in your package.  I can tell you that Mike and I tell our couples it will take 6-8 weeks.  We usually don’t take that long but we would rather deliver the photos earlier rather than late.  Your photographer should be taking the time to carefully select the BEST of the best, only providing you with the photos that you will swoon over.  In addition, and even though most photos taken should be close to perfect, there are things a camera cannot control….. blemishes, red skin tones, distractions in the background, hair fly aways and more.  Some attention to detail should be made to these things in post processing.  Every attention to detail should be corrected in post processing and that takes time.  Besides, in the meantime, you will be enjoying each other on a Mediterranean cruise or the sipping drinks on the beach on a remote island.  You will have some sneak peaks to enjoy upon your return.  Then once you get settled in and back to your regular routine, BOOM!  Your photos are done!! You’re welcome 🙂

5.  Do you guarantee your services with 100% customer satisfaction?

I actually don’t know of ANY photographer that does this!  Well, except for Mike and I :). Why other photographers don’t do this is because they are in the photography business.  We are in the people business.  An average photographer isn’t invested in your marriage.  They are collecting a paycheck.  They collect your deposit, then see you MAYBE 1 or 2 times before and then on your day.  This is a whole other can of worms we can talk about later BUT this is not an investment into your life or marriage.  This is a job.  I won’t apologize for my directness on this topic because I’m passionate about it.  This is where I will tell you the difference between a paid photographer and investing in a photographer.

Investing in a photographer that wants to provide and experience with a spirit of excellence will make all the difference in the world.  You may not think so now but do you want to look back on this day and have any regrets toward the photographer you chose?  I think not!  This is the one thing that will remain after all the cake has been eaten, the music has stopped and the honeymoon is over.

These are the photos that you will share when all your friends come over for dinner and game night.  These are the photos that your children will look at while sitting on your lap and saying “ewe” when they see mom and dad kissing.  And don’t forget the grandkids!  As you advance in years, your grandkids will want to see what grandma and grandpa looked like all those many years ago and to see your wedding photos will instill family values in them.  And they will say how funny your hair looked all those years ago and you will giggle together.


photo NOT by M+J

6.  How many other weddings will you photograph that day / weekend?

If you think your day is all about you when it comes to hiring a paid photographer versus investing in a photographer, then think again!  Paid photographers are trying to squeeze wedding in after wedding.  This is common when hiring a photographer for a small fee.  They can’t live on that.  I once heard about a photographer who agreed to do a wedding in Las Vegas for $80!  And yes, he said he would have to “squeeze” her in that day.  No! No! No!

This is also a good time to ask them if they could stay longer should you want them to.  After all they aren’t “squeezing” you in right?  You may decide that everyone is still having so much fun at the reception, you want to have the photographer stay and get some fun dancing photos.  Be sure to know in advance what the additional investment is so you don’t have to think about that, just a simple “can you stay another hour or two?”

Your day should be set aside for you and you only.  This is one date out of maybe 5 you will remember forever.  You will celebrate this day every year for the rest of your life with your best friend.

7, 8 & 9.  What is your style?  How many weddings have you photographed?  Have you photographed a wedding like mine?

In our opinion, these questions are fluff.  Before meeting with a perspective photographer, you would have already seen their work.  I hope!  Check their website, Instagram, Facebook and Yelp! BEFORE meeting with them.  The website will have a portfolio, a few images for you to see.  The best of the best.  And if you like the style…… keep on stalking! 🙂

Instagram and Facebook will have more of their work, behind the scenes, and some information about them.  You will get a feel for who they are and if you think you would be a good fit.

Please, please, please check Yelp! and Google for reviews.  What are others saying about them?  This is so important.  And if you want to know more, and you want to meet with this photographer after reviewing all this, then simply ask to have coffee with them.  Once you are 90% sure you would like to hire them….. ask them to share some references.  Then you could talk with a few brides and get all the goods.  The photographer shouldn’t mind and brides LOVE talking about their Best. Day. Ever!  Besides, you might get a few good ideas from a bride who already got married!

It never hurts to ask them how long they have been in business.  All of these things will help you determine how vested they are in themselves, their business and more importantly YOU!

Possible examples of a “paid photographer” :):)



photos NOT by M+J

versus a “professional photographer” :):)


photo by assistant photographer of M+J Photography

Simply Put……..

The photographer you invest in will be a clear indication of the value YOU put on your memories.  Ladies….. please don’t settle on this or any of these truths mentioned.  And once you have decided you have found the one photographer you can’t imagine your wedding without, then there are some technical questions you don’t want to forget if it hasn’t already been covered in your talks.  You can get those questions here!

Before you go!

If you are still with us…. allow me to paint a picture of what you should expect from your photographer.  Whether it’s with us or someone else!  We want you to look back on your Best. Day. Ever! and remember nothing but love and fun and joy!

The Mike and Jenn Experience goes beyond taking your photos and this is why we are so passionate about the questions above and much more.

We are a dynamic force of creativity and fun that focuses on every detail and exist to serve brides with an experience that creates an environment for you to be the best version of yourself.  We guarantee that your photos will tell a story of your Best. Day. Ever!, alleviating any concern that every part of your day will be captured and remembered for years to come.

Here are some of the things that are included in the Mike and Jenn Experience (cherry on the top)……..

  • We walk through the season of planning your day with you.  It’s true!  Consider us an extension of your bridal party.  Anything you need, we are there.  All our couples come to consider us family, sometimes even before their wedding day!  You will want to join us for our annual summer BBQ too!
  • A run sheet of the day.  This is something your event planner, if you choose to have one, would normally do.  And we’d be happy to work with her and all your other hired professionals to include their part of the day as well.  This is a bonus with us!  It will have all details on when we are taking photos, and a list of the photos that must be captured.  This is the list that you give us when completing your wedding questionnaire.  But don’t fret…. you won’t have to worry about knowing when to be where.  We will do it for you!!
  • We keep in touch with and take care of your other hired professionals, encouraging them to contact us if they have any needs.  Especially on the day of…… we don’t want any issues to arise that would jeopardize how much fun you are having!  In addition, we take photos of their work and provide them AFTER you have had a couple of months to enjoy them yourself.  This way they can have lots of photos of you to share with other couples.  We love helping other businesses grow too!!
  • Lots of little surprises throughout your planning and beyond!  This the part of the Mike and Jenn Experience that well….. you just have to experience for yourself.

Who are we?


photo by assistant photographer of M+J Photography

We are Mike and Jenn Photography.  We love love.  We like to enjoy life.  We believe in marriage and that it is forever.  We enjoy doing life together.  If you want to know more about us, we’d love to hear from you!  You can visit us here, here and here.  Oh and don’t forget to check what others are saying about us on Yelp! and Google.

We want to hear a more about your day and we’d be happy to help you tailor your photography and other needs for your Best. Day. Ever!  We’re here to help you…. even if you choose another photographer.  🙂 Because the best fit matters the most!

Happy planning!! 🙂

He’s a TRUE romantic!❤️❤️❤️

We were at an event.  There was a photographer who asked to take our photo.  As you can imagine, we were taken by surprise.  It’s usually us on the other side of the camera!  We obliged.  We were having a great time supporting the year end event for SD Real Producers.  A San Diego Real Estate Magazine that we support and partner with.  She walked away after taking our photo, the photographer.

A couple of seconds later, Mike said….. “I wonder if that is Megan.”  I’ve been chatting with Megan over the phone and through text and email for several weeks now.  You guessed it!  She was getting married to Jonathan.  She happen to see some professional photos we did for Jessie Wright, the owner and operator of the SD Real Producers Magazine.  You see, she partners with the magazine too!  Small world right?  She asked Jessie, “who took those photos of you?  They are amazing!”  (It’s a compliment and an honor to have another photographer admire your work) 🙂

In the end Jessie introduced us and we hit it off.  Having not met her in person yet, being at a SD Real Producer’s event and getting our photo taken, it was quick thinking for Mike to wonder if that was her.  And boy I’m glad he did!

I quickly chased after her.  “Are you Megan?” I asked.  She responded with an excitable yes!  I introduced myself and it was like old friends, even though we didn’t know what each other fully looked like.  We chatted and were so excited to meet in person.  Then we met him, Jonathan.  Her fiancé.  Explaining his personality doesn’t give it justice.  You just have to see for yourself.

Behold, Megan and Jonathan.  A couple so in love, he courts her always, dotes over her each day and is excited about life and all that life has blessed him with.  His laugh is larger than life!



He makes her laugh.


He knows every part of her, including the curves in her hands.


They enjoy life and will now spend the rest of their lives enjoying the essence of one another together.


Congratulations Megan and Jonathan!!  We were blessed to watch you to join together and we can’t wait to see all that this life has to offer you!!


If you are getting married, let us capture the memories!  We’d love to chat with you to see if we are a good fit.  If you love Megan and Jonathan’s photos, we know you’ll love us!  Experience Mike + Jenn in a carefree, lifestyle photography session for you on your BEST. DAY. EVER!!   You can reach us www.MikeandJennPhotography.com.

Also see what others are saying about us on Yelp! And Google.  And lastly, if you want to know what we have been up to, visit us on FaceBook.

We look forward to meeting you!!  Mike and Jenn 🙂

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again..

This team of professionals are TRUE rockstars!!  Meet the whole team at Pacific Sotheby’s, La Jolla branch.  They have it all.  Allow us to re-introduce you to Amber and Brandon and their team.


If you are looking to work with some of the best professionals in real estate, please go visit them here.

Thanks again for having us Amber and Brandon!  We enjoy partnering with you and can’t wait to see you all again.  Enjoy 2020 and all that is has to offer you!!


If you have a team of professional or it’s just you, let us capture you so the world, and potential clients, can see entrepreneur in you!  We’d love to chat with you to see if we are a good fit.  If you love our photos, we know you’ll love us!  Experience Mike + Jenn in a carefree, lifestyle photography session!!   You can reach us www.MikeandJennPhotography.com.

Also see what others are saying about us on Yelp! And Google.  And lastly, if you want to know what we have been up to, visit us on FaceBook.

We look forward to meeting you!!  Mike and Jenn 🙂

Jessica and Josef…… and then there was one more!

Do you think it’s possible to snap the same number of photos in two minutes as they once did in a decade? Today, we take as many pictures in one year as they did for a whole decade in the 1800s. That tells me that folks want their pictures taken! But it’s more than that, isn’t it? People wish to ENJOY having their photos taken. Helping others to enjoy their experience is what we LOVE to do.

Meet Jessica, her husband Josef and their family……


They are spunky, fun and energetic!  To Jessica and her husband, family is important.  They visit.  They bond. They create memories.  They don’t mind the chaos.  They all relaxed, as the kids ran around, climbed trees and played in the great outdoors.  Getting dirty wasn’t important…… capturing memories was.

And when you see mom and her boys, it all becomes clear to you.  It started with her and dad.  Carefree.  Loving.  Fun.  And boy oh boy does she adore them.   They are her pride and joy and she’s proud to show it.  Good job mom!  You did well.


But there’s more!!  Oh so much more!!  A huge congratulations to this couple for adding to the family fun!  We couldn’t be more excited for you two love birds!!  Enjoy every minute of it!!  Coming May 2020.  Until we meet, grow little one, grow.



If you are interested in a family photo session that captures memories, we’d love to chat with you to see if we are a good fit.  If you love Jessica’s photos, we know you’ll love us!  Experience Mike + Jenn in a carefree, lifestyle photo session for you and the family.  You can reach us www.MikeandJennPhotography.com.

Also see what others are saying about us on Yelp! And Google.  And lastly, if you want to know what we have been up to, visit us on FaceBook.

We look forward to meeting you!!  Mike and Jenn 🙂

They said yes….. again!

This beautiful couple has been through it all!  And yet, they said “yes” again! They started as most couples do, friends.  They progressed from friendship and blossomed into a beautiful couple.

matt and christina before.jpg

When they decided to tie the knot, there was no big ceremony or celebration.  Very few family and friends to watch as they committed their lives together.  In fact!  It was supposed to be a small, private ceremony with their pastor.  Then he invited the whole church!!  Because that wasn’t the intention, the family missed it!  (awwwwwe)

Here is what Christina had to say just five years ago…….

“I found the one my heart loves.”
Song of Solomon 3:4

“Five years ago today I was preparing myself to start a new journey with the man God had hand picked just for me.  Matt and I spent several months preparing and seeking God’s will in preparation that we might follow our hearts desire to spend a life time together. But we weren’t preparing for a wedding in a traditional matter. We instead took that time to prepare our hearts and our souls for what God had called us to do and grow in our love for each other.

As we celebrate our 5 year anniversary, I find myself reflecting on the example of astounding love my grandparents had for each other. The love and respect they had for each other makes me speechless, because there are no words to describe it. God knew what each of them needed in a soul mate. As their souls rest together now, they left a lasting impression on the relationships that surrounded them. The advise and words of wisdom will stay with me. But it is the image of them together; the way they looked at each other, the way they kissed, took care of each other, joked with each other, cuddled, laughed together, and the way their hands fit perfectly together, that will remain in my heart forever. Before she passed away, my grammie told me to love and respect my husband in everything we do, and to always love him first. I may not know what that means in all aspects of life yet…. but I know what lasting love looks like.

When I look at my husband I know this is what God meant by, “the one my heart loves”.”

Now that they were married and in the full swing of life and happiness, there was just one thing missing.  A baby.  They tried and tried to no avail.  For years, they planned to have a baby and it just wasn’t happening.  Their hearts full of love, overflowing and plenty to share.  Where was that little bundle of joy?

We meet Matt and Christina and became friends during her pregnancy.  It was after this photo session that we heard the heart felt story of their journey to conceive.  And it gave us hope!  It continues to give us and others hope every day!!



Sadee came into their lives like a hurricane of love and has been melting hearts ever since.




Christina says it best when Sadee was just a wee itty bitty baby…….

“As I sit in alone my daughters room, with worship music playing, surrounded by the cutest little girl clothes I have ever seen, I am overjoyed. I am overwhelmed by God’s grace to bless me with the experience of feeling my little girl kick and wiggle around as I rock her in my belly. I am in awe of the love I feel for her, and I can only imagine how God feels love for me. In this moment the peace and calm I feel is God’s hand telling me He is in control! I know this is not a dream, but the best blessing I ever could have dreamt! I can’t wait to meet this little one! But right now, in this moment, I am so thankful, so humbled, and so happy my heart is bursting.”

Ten years later, lots of seasons and a beautiful little girl, these two love birds brought family and friends together to say “yes”….. again.  With a little bit of planning, wearing the very dress she bought all those years ago but never got to wear, and with all the details that a wedding should have….. we give you Mr. & Mrs. Clark.






Congratulations you two!  We love you and we are blessed to have you in our lives.  You two are the example of love that every couple needs to glean from.   Here is to another 50 years!  Cheers!!



Did someone say cake fight??

Yes they did!!

Matt said no cake smashing.

Christina had other plans.

Either way….. we were ready!!




Thank you Matt and Christina for letting us be a part of your life, your wedding, and your family!  We love you to pieces!!

Mike + Jenn Photography








Love is…..

Love is a choice.  A choice we make every day.  That choice isn’t based on our feelings.  Well maybe at first it is! 🙂

Most of us tend to focus on falling in love and use the feeling of love to determine the duration of a relationship. Falling in love is easy to do, almost effortless, but losing that loving feeling is not that hard to do, either.

Of course, when a relationship is new, it is fun and enjoyable courting or being courted. In the beginning, we are constantly thinking about the new person in our life, and wanting to spend all of our time together and share new experiences together. We want to show how we feel by getting cards or flowers or just sending a cute text message.

Feelings, however, can be fleeting. No one seems to want to talk about how those loving feelings can fade, that it takes work to keep the love alive, and that choosing to stay in love is a choice we all must make.

Who we love is as much of a choice as it is a feeling. Staying in love takes a commitment. After the rosy glow of the new relationship wears off, we have to make a decision: Do we want to love this person and commit to our marriage together, or are we going to let this person go when the tide rises?

Once we have made the decision that we have found the person we want to be with and commit to, the real work begins. A big part of that work is making many other choices.

It is a choice to see the good in our spouse every day, rather than focusing on the negative things that bother us. We have to accept them and love them as they are. If we go into a relationship thinking we can change someone, we are setting our relationship and ourselves up to fail. Expectations are the root of disappointment.  We all have flaws and quirks and are weird in some ways. Accepting those differences is part of love.

1 Corinthians 13:4-5: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”

We can choose to ignore the petty, irritating small things our spouse may do. If they forget to take out the garbage, or leave the cap off the toothpaste.  Trying to change them into us is one of the biggest relationship mistakes we can make.

When we are unhappy with how things are in our relationship, it is easy to over focus on what we are not getting from the relationship. Instead, a healthier response is to see what we could be doing for our partner, rather than focusing on what they are not doing for us. We should always try to be supportive of our partner, because we cannot expect anything from our partner that we are not willing to give ourselves.

Another important choice we can make is to choose to remember the reasons why we committed to this person. Our relationship will not always be pleasant and there will be times for serious discussions and disagreement. There will be trying times and even bad times that we will need to work through together. The key to surviving these times is to remember to be respectful, acknowledge our commitment, and work through whatever is at hand together. During these times it really helps to remind ourselves of why we chose to love them in the first place.

Love is all about choices. We choose to see the good, ignore the petty, look for what we could do for our spouse, and remember why we love them. Choosing to put in the effort to do these things is what love really looks like, and with that work comes the wonderful reward of staying in love.

I choose you Mike.  Today and everyday for the rest of my life.

Your Proverbs 31


Is that the right place?

Sure, we love BEST. DAY. EVERS! (and flowers, and cake, and ball gowns…) that go along with a traditional wedding.  All it really takes is a recognized officiant, a marriage license, a few witnesses and The Mike + Jenn Experience.

So whether you’re saving up for the big celebration or simply can’t wait to tie the knot, here’s what you can’t forget…..

Love is love either way.



This beautiful couple chose a civil ceremony.  That didn’t take away from saying I do in front of family and friends who gathered.  It didn’t take away from the intimate time alone after.  And it didn’t take away from the rest of their lives together as they choose to love one another every day.

Tony and Parvana…… CONGRATULATIONS!  Welcome to the married club!!  We hope you have enjoyed every minute of this far and are loving this season as you celebrate the holidays together for the first time as a married couple.

Enjoy each and every moment.  Stay grateful for one another and remember love is a choice.


Your wedding can be whatever you want it to be, whether it’s a trip to city hall, a totally intimate celebration with just your families, or a huge to-do. Either way, we’d love to be a part of it.  Find out what the Mike and Jenn Experience is.  We can’t wait to meet you!

It feels so good…..

To be honored.  Noticed.  Appreciated.  FEATURED in a well known magazine!!  Say hello to Darin Triolo and his family.  CONGRATULATIONS Darin and Team!  You did it!!

How did we meet Darin?  I’m glad you asked.  🙂

Mike + Jenn Photography have been honored to partner with the amazing Jessie Wright, Founder and Owner of San Diego Real Producers Magazine.  She created a platform to connect the top 1% Realtors in San Diego county through a monthly trade publication, quarterly parties, & social events!  You can see more HERE.  You can also connect with her on FB HERE.

She is such a wonderful woman, business owner, friend and connector.  We absolutely love partnering with her!!

Below is her featured article on Darin for the month of September and yup! you guessed it!!  We had the pleasure of photographing Darin and his family.  See all the goodness below.

Like what you see?  We can take professional and / or family photos for you too!  Visit our website and connect with us on social media here and here.

And if you are looking to sell a home, buy a home, join an amazing team….. Well you might just want to reach out to Darin.  I hear he’s crushing it! 🙂

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