What should we wear?

It is best to keep clothing simple, avoiding logos or busy patterns. For kids, layers, textures and fun accessories like hats work well. Wear clothes that represent you and who you are. The most important thing is that you are comfortable.

What to bring?

For family and/or kids sessions: outfit changes, a drink, favourite toy, special stuffed animal, bubbles – anything they love and will help create some lovely natural shots. Please make sure your little one has been fed and had a nap before the photo session for a more comfortable and positive experience.

How long does the photo shoot session last?

The actual session itself usually lasts and hour to an 1.5 hours.

How do we book you?

I am usually booked 6-9 months in advance all year round so it’s best to get in early. Simply call or email your interest, letting me know when you would like to book a photo shoot and the type of session you are looking for. A 30% deposit is required to secure your booking. The balance is not until your images are ready for delivery, being 4-5 weeks after your session.

When will I receive my photos?

Approximately 4-5 weeks after your session, I will have your images fully processed and on a USB. Your USB will usually consist of at least 60+ print ready images. The photos will be high resolution, professionally edited, colour corrected if need be and a few supplied in black & white. I will usually post a sneak peek of the session on my Facebook page within a few days of your session. You will receive a Print Release for all of the images on the USB. This allows you the freedom to have all the pictures from your session and organise your own prints through any photo lab.

Are there any additional charges for me to receive my photos?

I charge a one-time flat rate for your session at a location of your choice. No additional sitting fees or charges are added. The pricing quoted on my website includes the photo session on location or at your home, travel Sydney-wide (within 50kms from Penrith), a USB containing all of your images with a Print Release allowing you to share and print the images in any personal capacity

Where will the photos be taken? Do you have a studio?

The location of the photo session is up to you. I specialise in natural light photography and therefore don’t have a studio. I can meet you at any outdoor location of your choice. Once your session date is booked, we will discuss what style/feel you are looking and then work together to come up with the perfect location. Newborn sessions are held within the comfort of your own home.

Do you only offer the photos on USB or do you offer prints?

My standard Digital Collection includes all of your fully edited, print ready, high resolution images on USB. If you are interested in having prints made I am happy to assist you with that. There are two Collections that also include premium flushmount albums using a selection of your favourite images.

What happens if we finish earlier than the agreed hours?

It’s very hard to predict when the event will finish and let alone run on time. But if we finish earlier than expected you are still required to make full payment of the agreed hours. If I am required more than the agreed hours then you may add more hours at $100/half hour.

What's the ideal time for portraits?

Try to avoid the middle of the day when the sun is directly overhead as it causes harsh shadows. The last hour of light before sunset is usually the most flattering for photography. Generally allowing 1 hour is ideal to get photographs with your bridal party and those precious photos as a married couple. An overcast and cloudy forecast is great for soft light or creating some dramatic clouds on location. If we have harsh sunlight, I'll put the sun behind you or aim to find an area of full shade so you stay comfortable as well as look your best.

Wedding FAQ's

Will you take any posed photos at our wedding?

Yes. I always encourage couples to set aside 20-30 minutes for posed portraits with their family and close friends. These are typically shot at one location for speed and simplicity. If lighting is not ideal or there are too many harsh shadows, don’t fret, I have got some high-powered strobes that will make it look great. I recommend that couples that are all right with seeing one another before the ceremony take some of that time to get the portraits out of the way. This leaves you with plenty of uninterrupted time after the ceremony to mingle with all of your guests, and they will appreciate it. In cases where couples do not see each other before the ceremony, family portraits are typically done soon afterwards.

Do you provide wedding cinematography or videography?

Currently, I focus exclusively on wedding photography. Unfortunately, I don’t provide video coverage. Photography alone requires 100% of my attention to ensure that I provide you the best possible service and not undermine the end product. I can definitely refer you to some super talented videographers/cinematographers I’ve worked with though!

Do you work with an assistant or second photographer?

Not usually. I have almost always worked on my own. I find it is easier to tell a single story on my own rather than trying to merge two approaches to the same story from separate creative minds. Only when absolutely necessary. Hear me out: I prefer to work alone and steer couples towards this decision whenever possible. My style gives me the flexibility to take a range of shots without additional support. Depending on a wide range of variables, I am either never in one place for longer than an instant, or camping out at a single location waiting for the perfect wedding moment to complement the great light and composition that just caught my eye. This also translates to delivering consistent-looking photos and sidesteps the problem of providing you with an excessive and overwhelming number of images that look too similar. Another very important reason is the discreet and intimate nature of my wedding photography. I pride myself on being able to blend into the crowd, which means that my presence has a minimal impact on the way your guests behave around and react to me. This allows me to capture images that other more invasive photographers simply can’t achieve. My intimate approach to wedding photography means that everyone wins: for you, great images; for your guests, an experience not tainted by the intrusive and distracting presence of an overzealous photographer. However, there is a situation in which a single photographer is not enough: when both parts of a couple want to document their pre-ceremony preparations but are separated by too much distance and not enough time. Beyond that, the duration of their stay is determined by your preference and budget.

Do you offer engagement photography?

I do not offer engagement photos and most of my clients do not request them. The most common approach to engagement shoots – or “e-sessions”, in photo lingo – is highly posed and directed. As you’ve just read in the previous answer, this is something I discourage. Many wedding photographers try to sell you on the idea of engagement photos by claiming that the process helps you become comfortable with both the photographer and with having your pictures taken. As the theory goes, this will make you more relaxed and photogenic on your wedding day. This can’t be further from the truth and the proof is in the timeline. With many wedding photographers, engagement shoots occur months—and sometimes a year or more—ahead of the wedding day. With such great spans of time separating the two events, there is no residual “camera comfort” remaining. With regards to being photographed, there are three types of people: those that are comfortable being photographed, those that can be trained to become comfortable, and those that will never be comfortable. Unobtrusive photojournalistic wedding photography is universally great at capturing all of them without relying on the upsell of engagement shoots.

Can you describe your wedding photography style?

My style is unobtrusive, reportage, natural, modern and fun. I want to capture all the moments you’ll be too busy to notice. You’ll be left with a beautiful story board of your wedding day. My style is formally called photojournalistic wedding photography or wedding photojournalism. There’s even an official organisation called the WPJA. It takes the hands-off, documentary approach of photojournalism and applies it to wedding photography. Throw in a good eye for lighting, meticulous composition, and the patience necessary to catch a meaningful moment, and the result is the beautiful and intimate wedding photography found on this website. My goal is to capture the real emotive moments of the day—yours, your family’s, and your friends’—not just what you looked like wearing the latest and greatest. Ultimately, trends and looks will go out of style, but the fleeting moments that represent our relationships, love, and humanity will not. It is my aim to preserve them for a lifetime. My look and feel tends to range from quirky to elegant to vintage and my shooting style is relaxed, candid photojournalistic mixed with classic bridal portraiture. Candid wedding photos offer a relaxed approach to your wedding photography, the style is natural and timeless. The photojournalistic feel will tell the story of your day and document the details that you’ll want to remember forever. Your wedding day is about you, not about me telling you what to do and when to do it. We will discuss the timeline of the day and I will of course guide and direct you on the day, but I will be relaxed and flexible with everything. I strive to create feel good timeless photographs. By combining a photojournalism style with simple directions during portraits, I capture a relaxed intimacy. Each wedding is a unique story full of surprises and little moments. I understand that your wedding day is a momentous experience and not just a photo shoot. That's why I'm careful to strike a balance between quality time with your guests and getting the best photographs possible. My experience can be valuable when planning your wedding and I'm happy to offer advice to help your day run smoothly.

Are you willing to travel? Will you photograph our destination wedding?

Definitely. Regional travel to locations more than 90 kilometres from Pavel Kounine Photography is subject to a fee of $0.55/km, which is charged both ways. Destinations that exceed two hours driving time each way may require overnight accommodations. Please inquire. There is a separate package for destination wedding photography. This fee includes both the work and time incurred during the travel portion. Airfare, accommodation for 2-3 nights, travel expenses, meals, transportation, and local photography permits (if required) are additional.

What is your wedding photography payment structure? Do we have to pay a retainer?

Your wedding date is reserved after you have made an offer, paid the retainer, and I have accepted the offer. The process of making an offer commits you to working with me should I accept that offer. If the offer is declined, you are released from the commitment. Assuming the offer is accepted, the balance of your payment is due 28 days before your wedding date. The balance is calculated as: balance = offer (plus tax) – retainer Since I will reserve the time agreed upon and will not make another reservation for the specific period, retainers are non-refundable even if the date is changed or cancelled for any reason. It’s important to note that your offer is for the photographer’s labour on the day of the event and for processing the images and delivering them to you. The offer does not include any physical products, such as albums or prints. The offer also excludes any reasonable costs I incur during my work on your event, such as parking fees, hired vehicles, etc. Such reasonable costs are calculated and invoiced to you following your event, and you are responsible for paying them before receiving your photographs.

How far in advance should we reserve our wedding date?

I recommend reserving your wedding date as soon as you decide that I’m the right wedding photographer for you. Booking early has the benefit of providing you with the ease of mind of having secured your preferred photographer, which means that you’ll have one less thing to worry about.

Can you hold our wedding date before receiving the retainer or wedding agreement?

Unfortunately, I can’t do this.

How many photos do you usually deliver?

I’m a quality over quantity type of guy. With that in mind, you will receive between 150 to 250 edited photographers for a wedding of typical length (between 8 – 12 hours). There are various factors that contribute to where your wedding would fall in this range and I’d be happy to discuss this with you during our meeting. But rest assured, the photos you do receive are carefully curated and lovingly edited to tell the visual narrative of your wedding day. If you have any lingering doubts that it’s enough photos, I’d be happy to show you what 200 prints looks like in person—it’s quite overwhelming, actually. While there is no formula and every wedding is different, you can expect about 50 photos per hour of coverage The final count depends on the package you selected, how fast paced your wedding is, how much driving around is involved from the church/temple to your banquet hall, etc. I aim to give you as many good photos as possible as I know how special these moments are to you. At the same time I also don’t believe that ‘more’ automatically means ‘better’. On average, you can expect 700+ images for a 10-hour wedding day and 850+ images for a 12-hour wedding day. This works out to be about 70 images per hour of shooting time. With engagement sessions, I aim to provide you with 100+ images for a simple engagement session and 200+ images for a creative engagement session. This is of course on assumption that we do not spend too much time travelling in between locations. It also really depends on the circumstances of the day itself.

Will you personally be editing our photos?

Every single photo you receive is carefully processed. Editing is a very time intensive process and and a very important phase and it makes the difference between a good photo and a great photo. While again, there is no formula, it is not uncommon to spend 4-6 times the time it took to photograph your wedding editing the photos. That means a wedding day usually takes a whole week to process. I personally edit every single photograph that is sent to you and do not outsource editing to third-party services. Unlike some photographers who edit using general presets, I process each image individually to suit the composition. Additionally, when a secondary wedding photographer is hired to provide supplementary coverage, the images they photograph are edited by me. When editing images, I eschew trends and aim for a pleasing recreation of the ambient light and colour present during each scene. This can involve adjustments to colour balance, contrast and tone, clarity (micro contrast), sharpness, cropping, and conversion to black and white (if applicable). Minor retouching may be done at my sole discretion and is limited to a blemish here and there, exclusive to the couple only. Professional retouching is beyond the scope of my service and abilities.

Are the digial images included in your wedding photography packages high resolution, printable, or watermarked?

All of the digital photographs you will receive as part of your wedding photography package will be delivered as hi-res JPEGs and uncompressed 16-bit TIFF files. The images will not be watermarked and will be ready for printing.

Do you use natural light for your photos or flash photography?

I try to avoid using flash. Although the philosophy behind photojournalistic wedding photography does not restrict its use, my personal preference is to avoid relying on such tools until it becomes absolutely necessary. I have a few reasons for this: using flash calls attention to the wedding photographer; it distracts you and your guests; it changes the quality of light and records a false ambiance; and it can be painful to dark-adjusted eyes. Despite all of the above, I always come prepared! A set of professional strobe lights is always with me in case I need to do something extreme, such as illuminate a winter solstice wedding held in a north facing castle that sits in a sunless valley and has one functioning light bulb. By the way, if you’re ever considering a wedding at such a fantastical location, please give me a shout—I’d love the opportunity to photograph it. Natural light works best for my style of photography. Lighting is key to capturing the best images so my life consists of literally chasing the light.. There will come a time in the night where available light becomes limited, so this is when I attach my flashes to the cameras in order to capture those energetic dance floor moments (shown below). For most of the day/night I endeavor to keep my flashes hidden, as they can be distracting at times. So I only attach them when it becomes essential to properly expose the image.

How long after the wedding do we receive the photos?

Please allow 4 weeks for photos to be delivered. I take great pride in choosing, editing and processing your images. You will be able to view your images online within 6 weeks. In the event of unforeseen circumstances that may delay this time schedule, I will make sure I notify you in advance. If you require your photographs to be delivered prior to the specified time period, please let me know in advance so I can see whether it’s possible to make appropriate arrangements.

What kind of photography equipment do you use?

I photograph weddings using a combination of cameras and lenses that will deliver exceptional results. For every wedding at which I’m hired to work, I carry three cameras (and thus, three lenses) on my body at all times. I work hard to avoid flash photography; however, for situations that require it, I always have my ProFoto D1 1000 and ProFoto D1 500 studio strobes and Paul C. Buff Vagabond Lithium Extreme battery on standby. All my cameras are Fuji and I only use professional grade equipment. Still, it is not the equipment that matters, but knowing how to use it. If I buy Leonardo’s paintbrush, I will not be able to paint like Leonardo. Constant practice and experience will raise one’s skill levels. Simply buying a new camera does not make one a photographer. We use the latest professional grade camera equipment from Canon Inc. We shoot in digital to allow us to process the photos quicker and provide digital previews to our customers much faster.

Do we need to provide you with a meal at our wedding?

Yes, please. It’s a long hard day and by the time dinner starts my tank is usually empty. With that in mind, a vegetarian meal is requested for wedding photography commissions lasting six hours or longer. Please treat me like a guest and have me seated accordingly; this will help me to spring into action as quickly as possible whenever I sense that a great wedding moment is about to occur. Yes please. From the time we start, we dedicate ourselves to provide you the best service possible, running around unobtrusively to capture the story of your day unfold in its entirety. Hence, for every wedding, I ask that 2 crew meals be prepared for us during your reception dinner to keep us running on full energy for the rest of the night. I promise that this little kindness to show your appreciation for our hard work will go a very long way.

Do we have to tip you? What is the etiquette for tipping wedding photographers?

I do not accept tips and believe that tipping is something the industry needs to stop encouraging. With exception to waiters and servers, most wedding service providers set their own prices as per their business objectives or freelance contracts (if they’re contracted by the company you hire). Merchants that expect or subtly encourage tips to bolster their bottom line should reconsider their pricing strategies. If you’re delighted with my performance on the day, consider writing a review of your experience on Google, Facebook, and Yelp.

How many weddings to you shoot every year?

As I’m a boutique photography studio rather than a commercial one, I only take on a limited amount of wedding commissions each year. This number is currently sitting at 25. This ensures every single one of my couple receives my very best service, as well as allowing myself time to continually learn and grow, creating unique, beautiful and timeless images for each couple I have the privilege of working with. I am a firm believer in quality so I limit the number of weddings to 25/year. We are booked very early especially for summer weddings and if you like our style, please do not hesitate to contact me.

We Want Gorgeous Wedding Photos! What is the Most Important Element?

TIME! I am very good at what I am doing and I need time to achieve that extraordinary look you want. It is not uncommon to spend 10 minutes on ONE SHOT!! Small incremental refinements are key. The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little “extra”. If you don’t give me time, you will be stressed out (oh, we have only 30 minutes for photos) and you will look tense in your wedding photos. The time you invest will increase your chances to get amazing photos you and your grandchildren will love for many decades to come

How Much Time Do We Need for Group Photos?

Please allocate 3 minutes for each group photo (for formal photos) and about 5-10 minutes per photo for the Vanity Fair type of photos.

Can we arrange an appointment with your before securing our booking?

Absolutely! We want you to be familiar with our processes and the way we operate. In our experience, the more knowledgeable you are about wedding photography, the better the images we create. It is a team process, so we want you to be well prepared on your Big Day. Of course! I usually insist you book an initial appointment with me face-to-face or via skype before securing your booking. I’m available most weekdays and weeknights. My client meetings are held at Breakfast Point unless a mutually convenient location is agreed upon. Yes, in fact I encourage it! It gives me a chance to hear your story and you can see my photographs in print. We can meet in person at a location convenient for us both or alternatively talk on the phone, Skype or FaceTime.

Do Your Packages Include Editing?

Yes, we are a full service wedding photography studio and we pride ourselves in delivering beautiful images to our couples. Every single wedding photo you will receive is carefully edited.

Do Your Packages Include Digital Files?

Yes, all our packages include digital files delivered on a USB drive. However, I suggest an extra precautionary step for the safety of your wedding photos. If you own a gmail account please upload them onto your own google drive or use an alternate cloud solution. The safety of your wedding photos is very important. In a few years if you loose your computer, something happens to the USB or your hard drive, you will have your wedding shots on the cloud.

Are Our Wedding Photos High Resolution?

Yes, we deliver all images in high resolution and you can print them if you wish. They are full JPEGs in a format required by most printers.

Do You Have Backup Equipment?

Backup is always important to us because your wedding photos are at stake. Each photographer uses two cameras and we have additional lenses, flashes, charged batteries ready to replace any failed piece of equipment. When we arrive home we make two backups on separate hard drives so that if one fails the other two are safe. One can never be too careful with wedding photographs.

How Do You Backup Photos?

Immediately after we return from your wedding, we copy all cards onto our main server and make two additional copies. In effect your wedding images are stored on three separate hard disks.

What are the Pre or Post Wedding Photo Shoots

If couples believe their wedding day includes so many events that having a photo shoot is impractical, we schedule a separate photo shoot on another day. Sometimes if the weather does not collaborate on your wedding day, you might want to book a separate photo shoot. Another reason to have such wedding photography session is to travel to a location you absolutely adore, where you can not go on your wedding day. Also, if your wedding is in the summer but you want to have wedding images with the foliage in the fall, we will book a session. Finally, to avoid the stress on the wedding day some couples choose to have the wedding shoot on a separate day. As we are busy on the weekends, we are more than happy to accommodate any requests and the shoots will be scheduled Monday to Thursday.

Can I purchase prints, framed pieces and canvases from you?

Absolutely! I offer full service professional photo lab quality products in a variety of sizes that can be purchased as add-ons after your engagement/portraiture session and wedding day. Just ask me to find out what’s on offer!

Are you available for international travel?

Yes, I most certainly am. Travelling is an important part of my work as seeing and experiencing other foreign places is a major source of inspiration for me. A dream of mine is to photography more destination weddings! Hence, if you are located overseas or looking to have your wedding abroad, all you need to do is get in touch and let me know where you planned to have your wedding and we can work all the details out from there.

When do you shoot the engagement session?

I usually require at least 6 weeks before your wedding day to shoot your Engagement session. However, from my experiences, if you are able to fit in the engagement session 6 months before your actual wedding day, that would be best. Why you may ask? This is so you can display your engagement photos at your actual wedding! To provide an example, if you do your engagement session 1~2 months before your wedding, it may already be too late. You’ve already sent out your save-the-dates to your guests. You’re already created your online website. You’ve already told everyone about your wedding. As such, you are greatly limited by when and where you can actually make good use of your engagement photos. There are so many other wonderful ways that you can use your engagement photos at your wedding. How? Shoot me an email and I’d love to share some ideas with you.

Do you hold Public Liability Insurance?

I sure am! I have full public liability insurance and can provide you with a certificate if required.

Will our photos be displayed on your website or blog?

I try my best to update my website, social media platforms and blog wherever possible, however it is usually up to my discretion as to whether or not a particular image from an engagement session or wedding will be published. Should you have any concerns about this, please let me know and I am happy to explain or discuss this further with you. They maybe used for self promotion (online gallery), social media or entered into competitions. This helps me expand my portfolio and help potential clients like yourself to see my work.

How do we confirm our booking with you?

Easy! In order to book and secure your wedding date with me, a signed contract and a 20% non-refundable deposit is required, as well as any travel fees which may apply. The remaining balance is due 30 days prior to your wedding day. I cannot hold any dates without a signed contract and deposit. Of course, you are also welcome to pay the total balance upfront.

When is the best time to do outdoor wedding or portrait photography?

The best time of the day to do outdoor photography is in the early morning or around sunset, as the light during these times is soft and flattering. Photoshoots around midday are not always ideal due to the harsh sunlight which may cause you to squint, and can also cast unpleasant shadows over your face.

Do you offer Elopement packages?

I sure do. Packages range from $750 – $950.

I love your work but I live overseas, isn’t that going to be to much trouble?

Of course it isn’t. I have travelled to many locations for Weddings including Italy, New Zealand and all over Australia. There are a few approaches to booking me for destination weddings. You can let me take care of all the logistics and prices and build it into your collection taking all the trouble off your mind or you can choose to book everything yourself. We can always chat in more detail about what is needed.

How do I get in contact with you?

That on is easy! You can click here to email me or you can call me on 0433 094 237. I hope to hear from you soon!

Will the photos be watermarked?

No – they will be ready for you to upload to social media, share your friends and family or even print out yourself.

Where are you based?

I live in Sydney, NSW, Australia. I frequently travel outside Sydney to the Southern Highlands and Hunter Valley.

Do you edit all the photographs?

Yes, every photograph you receive I have personally edited in the style that complements the work in my portfolio. I have a clean, timeless editing style to ensure your photographs will look beautiful for generations. Due to my belief of remaining true to the day, “Photoshopping” to modify body parts or elements in a photograph are not typically part of my editing workflow.

We’re both super awkward and not used to getting our photos taken. How will you make us feel comfortable in front of the camera?

I haven’t met a couple who hasn’t asked this question before. So don’t stress! I honestly believe the one true barrier to capturing truly amazing, natural images, is getting to know each other! I’m super awkward and try not to stress the little things. Once you’ve booked me to capture your wedding we will arrange several meet ups to get to know each other. I want to know how you first met, of course, but i’m also super interested in what you both do and enjoy. If money was no object what would you be doing? But don’t worry, I won’t be moving in with you!

After the ceremony, we don’t want to be taken away from our guests for too long. What is the normal duration you spend taking bridal portraits?

I understand that you want to be with your guests celebrating your day, so I usually only spend an hour taking the bridal portraits after the ceremony. This allows for the family, bride/groom parties, and couple photos to take place, allowing you all to get straight back to the action.