Frequently Asked Questions
We’ve organized your most frequently asked questions below. We pride ourselves on being helpful and responsive—so reach out to us if you have any other questions!
tell me more about Artisan Events
What services do you offer?
We are a full-service creative studio specializing in photography and videography for weddings, special events, and portraits. We offer highly customized design experiences including custom albums, photo books, cards, fine art prints, and custom frames including in-home design and installation services. We also offer photography library management for families and organizations as well as albums designed from your own personal photos.
How many weddings have you documented?
We’re proud to say our studio has documented and produced over 2000 weddings and special events. And yes, that’s a lot of hard-earned experience.
How long have you been in business?
The studio was founded two decades ago in 1998 by award-winning photographer. Amanda Sudimack—we’ve been creating, designing and documenting ever since to the best clients in the world, all over the world.
What’s your style?
Our style is journalistic with a timeless, storytelling focus. Each photographer on our team has their own unique perspective, but we’re all dedicated to delivering work that captures the moment without re-creating it and telling your story in a candid, authentic and always professional way. Our style aims to highlight the emotions of your day and relationships first and foremost.
What’s your mission?
Our mission is to deliver the highest quality work we’re proud to create that you love forever. Pretty simple. What we do to achieve that mission is anything but simple.
Can we see what past clients and vendors say about you?
Yes! We have stacks and boxes of love notes in the studio from decades of over-the-moon elated clients and vendors. We’ve worked hard to to over-deliver and maintain 5-star reviews year after year. Feel free to peruse some of our love notes here.
Why is your team approach so important?
Most photographers and creative artists work alone. They do everything themselves—meetings, marketing, sales, contracts, scheduling, shooting, producing, editing, retouching, designing, order management—the list is so long! Some creatives have a part-time assistant or outsource parts of the process to help here and there. And some hire out temporary second photographers to help throughout their busy seasons. And most don’t offer the variety of custom products we do because they can’t handle the additional work involved. There are so many problems with this model—we know because that’s how this studio started!
The advantages of working with a studio that has a team are endless. First, our team is not seasonal nor temporary—we’re all in it for a career. Most of our team has been with the studio for years—some decades. We know life happens—people get sick or injured. While it doesn’t happen often, if a team member isn’t able to work, we’ve got a built-in team backup system that solo-photographers simply don’t have. And working as a team—we get more done, faster. We answer calls and emails—fast. We have systems for everything to ensure highest quality and on time delivery. Our studio approach allows our team to focus on the skills that each of us are best at—and we deliver better work as a result.
And our favorite reason? We firmly believe the quote, ‘If you create in a vacuum, you suck’—we make each other better, together.
What kind of equipment do you use?
Our team all shoot on the highest quality professional equipment available with additional appropriate backup gear. Each team member has a required minimum gear list including diverse length lenses, prime lenses, full-frame DSLRs, flash equipment, and much more.
What is a RAW file and why is it so important that you shoot RAW?
Our team shoots RAW. This is an important distinction and not something all photographers do unfortunately. It’s more expensive, more time consuming, and more cumbersome to manage which is why not every photographer shoots RAW. A raw file is the image as seen by the camera’s sensor—think of it like unprocessed film. Shooting RAW allows us to process the image to our standards instead of the camera processing it for us. And RAW gives us the largest file size available to work with and delivers tremendous leeway in terms of correcting and enhancing images that simply isn’t achievable with non-RAW shooting.
Can you explain the editing process to me?
Our editing process is gleaned from 20 years of experience in maximizing quality and efficiency all while delivering brand-standard work that Artisan Events is known for delivery. The production stage is everything that happens behind the scenes at the studio between the time the event ends and you receive your edited portfolio. And this stage is vitally important—a good edit is where the magic happens. It’s not a place to outsource or cut corners—which is why we have our own internal editing staff and do not outsource this stage of our work.
The editing stage is almost as, if not more, important than the shooting itself. And it’s certainly more time consuming. Our typically editing stage takes 4-6 hours per 1 hour of photography. A typical 10-hour shoot will take 40-60 hours of production work from start to finish.
Here’s a quick break down of everything we do during each professional edit we execute:
Content Check: We check all content from all team members is accounted for in our systems.
Backup Check: We ensure our cloud-based backup system is syncing to native internal studio drives.
RAW Import: We import all RAW lossless data into production editing software.
Cull No. 1: We select the best of the best for your portfolio.
Organize No. 1: We spend time here to organize sections of day appropriately as time-sync does not always allow sections of the day to stay in proper order.
Cull No. 2: We do one more round of culling after organizing to ensure the edit is perfect.
Image Enhancements: Here we make the magic happen one by one to our brand standard. We do not believe in presets. Each image in your portfolio is individually corrected as needed via straighten, crop, density, contrast, levels/highlights/shadow adjustments, color, black & white, sharpen tools.
Metadata Check: We check all metadata is in order.
Export Process: We rename files in proper order and set up high-res JPG exports for printing and proofing purposes.
Upload and archive process: Finally, we upload the JPGs to your online portfolio website and internally we archive our projects and files for safe keeping.
What does the studio do to ensure our photos and videos are backed up?
Our editing process is built with a triple-redundant back-up system for all RAW and editing project files. Within just a few days of any assignment, we have 3-4 copies of all files automatically backing up to internal and external locations.
Do you travel?
Oh, yes. We have passports and love our commissions that take us all over the world. Paris, London, Hawaii, Grenada, Colorado, Wisconsin, Michigan, South Carolina, Florida, Mexico, Missouri, New Mexico—and that’s just the short list. Let us know what you’re planning and we can craft a proposal for you.
Are you insured?
Absolutely. We are insured to $2,000,000. Certificates of Liability Insurance (COI) are available upon request with at least 30 days notice from event date.
Why is it important to hire photo and video from the same studio?
Working with one studio means less work for you managing and coordinating, You sign one contract, one invoice and one studio to work with on coordinating plans before the wedding. And we already know each other—our photo and video teams know how to work together. It’s a seamless process from the strategic planing to shooting all the way through production. That’s a win-win for everyone.
Why do we have to pay for parking for the team?
We’re often asked why our team members bill for parking or ride-shares—can’t they take the train, park somewhere cheaper, or can’t team members carpool? Unfortunately with we carry very expensive gear and at the end of the assignment all your not-backed-up photos in those expensive gear bags. Taking public transportation is simply not a safe option. And parking far away from a shoot isn’t safe either—especially when our team leaves events late at night. While we try to make it work, carpooling unfortunately isn’t always an option for the team shooting your event. We do everything we can within reason to minimize parking and travel fees but please understand parking fees are based on the concerns of our team’s safety.
Do I really need to add an engagement session?
You don’t have to add an engagement session. But we always recommend it as a way to meet your photographer, build rapport, and have a test run so you know what to expect the day of your wedding. And for us, it gives us an inside look into what makes you smile and what posing works well for you.
Do I really need a second photographer or videographer?
No matter what size wedding or event, a second shooter will improve the quality, diversity and execution of any photo or video edit. Having another vantage point, a different type of lens in any situation, help organizing portraits—all of it is improved and more efficient with a 2-person team for both services.
Who is the second shooter?
We assign the team based on availability within the studio—all selected from our associate team list.
When should I add overtime?
We encourage clients to add whatever time you need at contract signing with a reduced associate rate. You may add overtime at anytime including at the event at non-reduced rates.
What about tax?
In Illinois, services are not taxed and products are taxed. You’ll see on your invoice each service and product line itemed to designate what portion of your order is taxable at the current sales tax rate.
Why is the package price broken down into line items on the invoice?
This can be confusing. Our fee schedule will show you the total amount including services and products. The invoice however will show you all the line-item breakdowns that total up the package. This allows us to properly tax the products and not tax you on service fees.
Who signs the contract?
Our contract is always with the couple. If you have a family member kind enough to pay for our services, they may pay the invoice by forwarding it to them but the contract is always signed by the clients.
What if the photographer we select gets sick or injured?
We know this is a big concern for everyone—us included. Fortunately, it’s not something that happens often. But rest assured when you hire our team—that’s what you get! We have many talented creatives on our team and we’ll do everything in our power to make the unlikely event of a replacement as smooth a process for you as possible.
Engagement Session FAQs
How far out should I schedule my session from my wedding?
It depends on how you want to use photos from the session. If you’re doing save-the-dates, you want to do your engagement about 9-12 months out. Otherwise we recommend shooting at least 3-4 months out. Keep in mind, our seasonal availability swings significantly throughout the year so the sooner you book the better.
When will the portrait photos be ready?
While we aim to turn all portrait edits around in 2-3 weeks, expect your edited portfolio to be available 3-4 weeks from your session. If your team lead is a film shooter, it might be closer to 3-6 weeks in our busy season.
Where do engagement sessions happen?
We have a studio available for indoor sessions and endless outdoor locations. We’re also available to travel for engagement sessions if you’d like to have us meet at a special destination.
What if we have bad weather on our portrait session?
If bad weather happens we will either shoot at our studio location or reschedule one time to an alternate date. If bad weather happens on the second date, the session is rain or shine.
Why are engagement sessions typically only available during the week?
Our team members are shooting other weddings on the weekends! Sometimes we can make a weekend work but please don’t count on it. Monday - Thursday are typical days of the week when we schedule engagement sessions.
What should we wear to the portrait session?
We recommend outfits you feel comfortable and confident in—when you feel good, you look good. Stay away from busy patterns and think about timelessness. When you look at your outfit choice years to come, you don’t want to think about trends. It is totally fine to wear a bit more makeup than usual for the shoot—that tends to translate well in pictures. Bring some extra foundation and lipstick if you’re using it with you. And keep in mind your location and time of year.…if you’re shooting near a windy lake or ocean, be mindful with skirt lengths and hair. Finally, we recommend if you’re wearing heels, bring a pair of walking shoes. We usually do some walking around!
Do you work with hair & make-up professionals you can recommend?
Yes, we have a list for you. Just ask.
Can we bring our pet to the session?
Of course! We love puppies. We recommend you also bring a “dog-walker” (um…a friend, neighbor, anyone) to take care of your pet. You won’t want them in every pose at every location so plan accordingly. Also keep in mind some parks and public locations pets are not allowed.
Can we go to multiple locations?
Yes, but keep in mind our session is an hour long and additional hourly fees may apply. We recommend picking a location with multiple options nearby vs. locations far apart from each other to maximize your time shooting.
Can I bring multiple outfits?
Yes, you are welcome to include a clothing change during your session, or accessories to take on and off, but please keep in mind that most sessions are one hour, including location and outfit changes. We recommend picking a location with changing room options nearby.
What happens before our big day?
What happens before the wedding day?
A whole lot of planning! We proudly have a reputation for being organized and extremely thorough in planning details to make sure we can deliver the best work possible. About 4 weeks before your wedding, we’ll share our Photo Information Planner. It is full of 20+ years of experience—we know everything we need to know from timelines to rain plans to overtime to portrait lists. You fill out the planner, return it to the studio and from there our in house event planner will work with you to organize all the details. After we complete the planner with you, you can opt to have a call with your lead photographer typically the week of the wedding.
Can talk to my photographer before the wedding to review our plans?
Yes, once your Info Planner is complete you have the option to schedule a call with your lead photographer to review the plans the week of your wedding.
Who picks locations for around town and portraits on our Big Day?
We’re more than happy to help you come up with locations during the Info Planner process.
What happens if we have bad weather on our wedding day?
We will review a backup rain plan for any outdoor portrait locations during the Information Planner call. Additionally, we highly recommend you have enough clear umbrellas for your wedding party if you plan to brave the weather!
Should we do a first look or wait to see each other at the ceremony?
We firmly believe your wedding is a celebration of marriage—not a photo shoot. We will work with whatever timeline and plan you choose. With that said, first looks and completing portraits before the ceremony have benefits for both photography and how your day flows and feels.
What can I do to help ensure the day goes smoothly for photos and videos?
Participate in our Info Planner process. And then…relax. Enjoy your day. It sounds so easy, right? A happy couple is easy to photograph. Make enjoying your day no matter what a priority and the rest will fall into place.
What if I’m working with a wedding planner?
We love wedding planners and work with a long list of planners from all over the world.
What if I’m NOT working with a wedding planner?
You’ll have to spend a little more time on the Info Planner process with us but we’ll help you get through all the decisions to ensure all the work we produce goes smoothly!
Do you work from a shot-list?
We ask for a reasonable list of requested portraits. We provide a list for inspiration that you can modify based on who you want to include in the portraits. We do this to keep the portraits as smooth and efficient as possible—we even have you include first names to help speed up the process on your wedding day. Outside of that, we are journalistic photographers and don’t use shot-lists while we’re documenting the day.
What’s a ‘reasonable’ amount of portraits to request?
This is a tough question to answer because ultimately it depends on the timing allowed at any given section of your day. Typically if we have 20-30 minutes to take family portraits after a ceremony, 10-15 groupings is reasonable. Also keep in mind If we’re doing larger groups with 10 or more subjects, those take longer to set up and capture. During the Info Planner process, we’ll give you feedback about timing and what’s possible to accomplish based on your unique wedding plans.
Can we add table shots?
Table shots are not in alignment with our candid, journalistic style. Not only do they take us away from candids during the evening, they can be very disruptive to the meal and your guest’s experience. With that said, if table shots are something you want to add, please make the request when booking and we will check if a separate team member is available to hire.
Will you re-create images from my Pinterest board?
You’re welcome to share a Pinterest board during the Info Planner process. We are candid, journalistic in how we approach the day and our work. We’ll review any inspiration shared with us but we won’t attempt to “copy” them or use them as a shot list.
What happens after our big day?
When will we receive our photos?
While we aim to turn all wedding photo edits around in 4-5 weeks, expect your edited portfolio to be available 4-8 weeks from your session. If your team lead is a film shooter, it may be longer.
How will you deliver the photos and how many?
We deliver 50-100 images per hour of coverage via an online wedding website you may use to share, select favorites, and place orders.
How long do you keep a copy of the files?
We keep a copy of your entire edited photography portfolio 1-year from your assignment date. All video files are permanently removed from our database 8 weeks after you approve your final edit(s) or 4 months after your event date.
Why does it take so long to edit photos and video?
We put a tremendous amount of time, know-how and professional expertise into all our edits. It doesn’t happen overnight because it’s completely custom and done in-house by hand.
Can we pay to rush our photography edit?
It depends. If you’re interested in a rush edit service, please reach out as far in advance as possible. Depending on the time of year and our editing calendar availability we might be able to offer a solution.
Can we pay to rush our video edit?
We don’t offer a rush video editing service but you can order a Teaser edit. Reach out for more details if you’re interested.
Will I receive digital photos and who owns the copyright?
If your contract includes an Image Archive Download, you will receive the digital photos along with your completed album. We own the “copyrights” since we are the creators, but you have full personal usage rights. This means you can make your own reproductions as you wish on your own as long as it’s not for commercial purposes.
What should we do with our digital photos and/or video files?
You should back them up! As soon as you receive them, make multiple copies of the files. We recommend you keep at least one copy off-site like in a safety deposit box.