Our Photography Training

Principle Photographers

About Michael Anthony

I have been photographing weddings for 12 years. I am a speaker, educator, and writer in our industry. Some of my photography accolades include:

  • Named #1 Photographer in the USA 2019, 2021
  • Named Master of Photography by Professional Photographers of America
  • Earned over 200 awards in international print competition
  • Best of Nations Winner – Photographic World Cup (2020)
  • Gold Medalist – Team USA – Photographic World Cup (2020, 2022)
  • Finalist – Team USA – Photographic World Cup (2020,2022)
  • Featured in Brides Magazine, Grace Ormonde, Huffington Post, Junebug Weddings, Shutter Magazine, Rangefinder Magazine, Professional Photographer Magazine,
    and more
  • Photographed Pro Athletes, Celebrities, CEOs, Politicians & Influencers
  • Speaker at international conventions since 2015, including WPPI, Wedding MBA, Shutterfest, Imaging USA, PhotoPlus, and more
  • Featured in advertisements by Canon USA, Profoto USA, Magmod, Imagen-AI, Sigma USA, Panasonic, and many more

While we have a talented team of associate photographers, I still photograph a limited number of weddings yearly. I typically book out around 9-12 months before our associate team fills out our calendar for the year.

To give my clients the best service, I limit the number of weddings I photograph yearly. However, we have a talented associate photography team, one of the only teams in California with a formal training program, which allows our clients to save money
and get excellent quality.

About our Principle Photography Team

Our Principle Photographers are hand-selected and go through extensive training.

In 2014 I noticed that as our business was growing, I needed to be able to teach my style of photography to others to service our clients better and offer more availability. As a photography educator for many years, I am well versed in the most up-to-date
training techniques to make sure that we offer the best talent available to our clients.

Our principal wedding photographers are some of the best in Los Angeles. They undergo a structured months-long training program, which isn’t expected for most owner/operator studios, who learn photography mostly from Youtube or 1-hour seminars at conferences.
Furthermore, because we have a team of trained photographers, you never have to worry about your photographer not showing up because they are sick or injured before your wedding day.

Our certified principal photographers have worked with our studio for several years and have 5+ years of professional experience.

Here is what it takes to be a certified principle photographer with our studio.

Selection Process

Our selection process is stringent. While we have an application available for photographers, less than 1% of our applicants have ever been selected and certified as principal photographers. Unlike large national studios
that just contract whichever photographer responded to a “help wanted” ad the week before your wedding. This talent that enters our training program is typically discovered at the workshops I teach or during scouting pushes a few times a year.

As a photography writer, speaker, & educator, I often meet new photographers that share my vision but require training in our processes to refine their skill set. These are the ideal candidates for becoming principal photographers.

When a prospect photographer is selected, they will fill out our application and, if they have the necessary qualifications, will be interviewed by our training coordinator.

Photographers that are considered as principles have to meet the following criteria before being admitted to our training program:

  • An Understanding of Light and Posing
  • An Amazing Personality
  • Solid Organizational Skills
  • Experience with at least 20 Weddings as a Lead Photographer
  • Passage of background check
  • Evaluation and knowledge of basic photographic principles

Certification Process

Every lead photographer that enters our system first begins with an evaluation shoot. This will help us gauge their starting level of expertise and help us understand their training progress and how they progress through each stage.

Candidates are initially evaluated in the following areas:

  • Composition
  • Lighting
  • Posing
  • Communication
  • Time Management
  • Creativity

Candidates are scored on their initial evaluation shoot, and if they pass the requirements, they move on to our digital training.

Digital Training

Candidates receiving our digital training must complete all our course materials. This consists of training on composition, lighting, posing, communication, time management, creativity, and processes. The length of this course can vary from student to
student. However, candidates cannot proceed to the next certification phase until this process is complete. Once the digital training is complete, candidates move on to the Field Training Photographer (FTP) program.

Field Training

Candidates in this stage will receive extensive training by working with Michael directly, as well as other members of our team. This allows them to see shoots in real-time and see how the pace of our work is. This stage can last 3-6 months before moving
on to their certification evaluation.

After each job or training session, candidates will receive a verbal critique of their performance in this phase, highlighting the areas that need improvement. Critiques are ongoing, even after a photographer passes certification. Once a photographer
is certified after their final evaluation, we provide regular, ongoing video critiques of their work, which we have found has dramatically impacted improvement throughout the years.

Final Evaluation

After completing all the above steps within a specified period, candidates will be invited to take their final evaluation shoot. This exam requires a passing score for the candidate to be certified as a principal photographer. Principle photographers
must pass a probationary period working with the studio before being contracted for jobs.

 


Portfolio

We constantly evaluate our principal photographers’ portfolios to ensure that their work stays consistent with our look and feel. Photographers get regular training updates to ensure their creativity is current and fresh.

In-person training

We hold multiple in-person training events per year and require our team to attend so we can demonstrate new techniques that we are working on, ensure that we are utilizing the newest technology to its fullest capacity, and update processes.

Editing and Post-production

One of the ways that we ensure consistency throughout our portfolio is to keep our post-production consistent no matter who on our team is photographing an event. By doing this, we can use the same color, toning, and composition techniques to keep your
images looking their best. For more information about our editing processes, see here.

 

 

Associate Photographers

Associate & second Photographers

Plus assistants


Weddings can be busy, with many different things happening simultaneously. We sometimes work alongside a second photographer, also known as an associate photographer, to help document your wedding.

While our normal pricing includes a second photographer, small weddings may be discounted from their coverage if only one photographer is required.

Better for Photojournalism

A lot of what we do is what’s called photojournalism. This simply means we document the day’s events as they unfold rather than stage or pose everything.

Two photographers are often better at this than one, as you can cover more ground and get more angles and perspectives.

For example, while one photographer is with the bride getting ready, the other can photograph the groom and groomsmen. This way, we make sure that no important moments are missed.

Or, while one photographer is taking formal family portraits, the other can document guests arriving and mingling.

Backup in Case of Emergency

While we take every precaution to avoid it, sometimes accidents happen. A second photographer gives us a backup in case of an emergency.

In the unlikely event that we become sick or injured on the day of your wedding, the second photographer can step in and take over.

This means you can rest assured that your wedding photography is in good hands, no matter what happens.

Different Perspectives and Angles

Two photographers also mean that you’ll get more variety in your photos. This is because each photographer will have their unique perspective and style.

So, while one might focus on wide shots of the ceremony, the other will be able to get close-ups of the bride and groom exchanging vows.

Or, one photographer might focus on detailed shots while the other captures the overall feeling of the reception.


This variety is especially apparent when you receive your wedding photos and see them together. You’ll be able to see your wedding day from multiple angles and perspectives, and it’s truly a beautiful thing.

More Photos in General

Having two photographers also means you’ll end up with more photos. This is because we can be in two places simultaneously and work together as a team.

For example, while one of us is taking formal portraits, the other can photograph the guests as they arrive and mingle.

More Candid Photos

Since there are two of us, we can also be more discreet when taking candid photos. This means that we’re less likely to be noticed by your guests, which results in more natural-looking photos.

For example, one photographer can blend in with the guests while the other photographs the bride and groom from a distance. This way, we can capture those candid moments that you’ll treasure for a lifetime.

How Many Photographers do you need?

It is a common question with many different answers. The answer depends on your wedding day vision, schedule, and budget. Our standard coverage always contains two photographers because it allows us to capture multiple angles on the wedding day. However,
there are instances where a 3rd photographer is important.

Large weddings

If you are expecting a large wedding with 300+ guests, we recommend adding a 3rd photographer to your package. This will allow us to capture more candid moments of your guests as well as have someone dedicated to solely gathering photos of your guests.

If you have a large wedding, get in touch about adding a photographer.

If you want Cocktail Hour Covered

If you would like your cocktail hour covered, we recommend adding a 3rd photographer. This will allow us to have one photographer dedicated to cocktail hour, one focused on reception details, and the 3rd to work with the bride/groom during portraits.

I can’t stress this enough, if cocktail hour coverage is important to you, then talk with us about adding an assistant for the day so that we can make sure to capture it. After designing hundreds of albums, I can confidently say that it’s very rare for
couples to use images from the cocktail hour in their album. However, all couples are different, and if there are special instances where you would want cocktail hour covered, then make sure to ask us about adding on an assistant.

Instances where you will need only one photographer

We can potentially offer you discounted coverage in cases where only one photographer is necessary. These cases may include some of the following:

  • Small weddings (under 75 guests)
  • Short Weddings (under 5 hours)
  • Elopements or only Portrait Shoots

If any of these apply to you, let us know, and we can potentially offer you discounted coverage before you book.

The Bottom Line

As you can see, there are many benefits to having two photographers at your wedding. We believe this is the best way to document your big day, from complete coverage to more candid photos.

If you have any questions about our pricing or packages, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We would happily chat with you about your specific needs and wants.