The best wedding photographer will first get to know before he shoots you
Please introduce yourself to our readers.
My name is Matt Montalvo and I’m an award-winning, Austin-based photographer who specializes in skillfully capturing beautiful weddings. I established Matt Montalvo Photography in 2007 I have photographed over 700 weddings as a lead shooter and typically shoot between 60-75 weddings a year. I was born and raised in Houston TX and graduated from Texas State University. I was married in February 2010 and we have a little boy named Jace. My wife is also a fellow wedding photographer!
I personally handle every aspect of Matt Montalvo Photography. I will be the one taking photos on your wedding day, editing the photos, designing your album, and answering your e-mails. I don’t believe in outsourcing my work and try my best to offer an unmatched level of customer service.
Besides photography, I have many other hobbies I enjoy when I can find the time. I love writing music on my guitar. Unfortunately, I am a pretty bad singer so you will not see me performing live anytime soon. Haha! I also enjoy working out and being active. Some other hobbies I have, are painting, attending hard rock shows, aquariums (salt and fresh), traveling, and anything NFL or Fantasy football. I love my Houston Texans!
How did you become a wedding photographer?
Till this day my favorite part is just bringing a smile to my client's face throughout the day. Making them comfortable and have fun with the photos is a special skill I think I have with people.
I had a friend who decided he wanted to try shooting a wedding since he got a camera for Xmas. Before he even shot a wedding he booked one! He basically told me I had to be his second shooter since I had taken a few photography courses in college. He gave me the whole deposit from the wedding so I could afford a camera. A few months later the wedding rolled around and I fell in love with it. Till this day my favorite part is just bringing a smile to my client's face throughout the day. Making them comfortable and have fun with the photos is a special skill I think I have with people. I just want to make sure every photo I take is perfect for them.
How would you describe your style?
"Photojournalistic approach but I also incorporate artistic portraits with meticulous posing. I carefully combine traditional and modern wedding photography styles. I also use highly skilled photo editing techniques."
Well my website says, "Photojournalistic approach but I also incorporate artistic portraits with meticulous posing. I carefully combine traditional and modern wedding photography styles. I also use highly skilled photo editing techniques." My style is really all over the place. Since I mainly shoot solo I try to shoot in all actual styles. I shoot wide, tight, vertical, and horizontal. I also use zooms and primes. A lot of what I do is candid but I also pose a great deal when it is necessary.
What are the most common questions that couples ask you at the first introductory appointment?
I think most couples want to know how much time I think I need for the wedding day and most of all they want to make sure personalities fit well. They like to learn about my editing process. I usually do so much talking and explain so much I don't leave a lot of room for answers since I try to be very thorough. I think the most important parameter is the budget. Couples these days also really like the idea of two shooters but I personally don't see much value in it.
For you, what is wedding photography?
Wedding photography is about capturing amazing shots for your clients fast and efficient in ANY situation. When I say any, I mean it.
Wedding photography is about capturing amazing shots for your clients fast and efficient in ANY situation. When I say any, I mean it. Rain, Shine, tears, wind, drunks, total darkness, total backlight, up close, far away, etc. If you have 3 minutes to get portraits of the couple in a parking lot can you figure something creative out? Candids are easy, posing is something you learn over time. With photos and posing you don't always have beautiful couples that fit the "ideal" mold. Couples come in all shapes and sizes and if they have things they don't like can you hide their insecurities through posing and editing? Can you photograph 100 family members in 20 min? Things get crazy sometimes but keeping your cool, staying professional, and having fun is key.
What makes a wedding photography session a success?
For me, I like lots of variety in my sessions. I use many different backgrounds and many different poses. The couples may not like a certain pose of background so I try to give them lots of options.
What are your thoughts on having second shooters at a wedding?
I am a bit of a control freak and I make sure I am in charge of every key photo and have the prime position for everything.
The only time I ever recommend one is if the wedding is around 300 people or if the ceremony is under 5 min. Other than that they are virtually useless for me. I am a bit of a control freak and I make sure I am in charge of every key photo and have the prime position for everything. Second shooters can get a unique angle sometimes at certain venues but are those 1 or 2 shots worth the cost to have them out there or would you rather an engagement session or album? Plus, they tend to get in my shots since I move around so much. Haha! I think they hold value for new photographers who are not as used to shooting weddings as a veteran.
How much does a wedding photographer cost?
Most good ones range from 2k-4k to start out. Price doesn't always dictate the skill though.
I have known awful photographers that charge much more than amazing pros I know. They may only shoot 5 a year but I sure feel bad for those 5 clients for not doing their research. Sometimes you can get an up and coming pro 19 months before your date for a great price. Then by the time your wedding rolls around they have that much more experience! They could also decide it isn't for them and throw in the towel at the rest of the weddings. Your best bet is to get a veteran who has been producing consistent work over years and years.
Why do wedding photographers charge so much?
I think all wedding prices are all too high but I am also very frugal. Haha! I guess you could add up the gear a true pro needs to work a wedding is usually north of 15k. Then we have to pay for websites, marketing, advertising, and promo work. A 7-hour wedding also has about 20-30 hours of editing following the event. Not to mention the years and years of practice to master the craft. Also, we can only do 1 a day so if you really like a person's product then it is a supply and demand thing which drives up the prices.
What was the most memorable wedding you photographed?
Oh man! I don't even know where to start after 700 weddings! I have seen some crazy things. I had a couple call off the wedding during the reception. That was nuts but I think my wife who is also a photographer takes the cake. She had a gang fight break out at one of her weddings and a guy got stabbed. Cops ended the party early. Crazy!!!