Photographer: Events, Weddings, Portraits – Austin, Texas

Posts tagged “austin wedding photographer

Georgetown, Texas Wedding

Austin Americana Studio photographed our latest wedding in Georgetown, Texas at the First United Methodist Church. Our friends Trinity and Ryan tied the knot at the beautiful and historic Methodist Church in Downtown Georgetown. The day turned out to be beautiful and the temperature was just right! Check out the photos!

Coming Soon: Video Tips For Brides From An Austin Photographer

Last night while I was trying to sleep (after doing some online marketing research) I had a flash of genius. I realized that although I frequently blog about helpful topics and provide information for Austin brides, I’m not sharing all of my wedding experience with brides in one of the newest and most popular avenues: video. So I’ve decided to make a series of videos, which I’ll be soon sharing on my blog with brides and grooms about wedding topics I have experience with – and I’m excited to share everything that I know with brides. Some of the information I’ve covered before in past blogs, so I’ll try to condense my wedding tips and suggestions about wedding photography and all things wedding to something small and manageable. I’m looking forward to sharing some of my experience with new brides and I look forward to the information exchange! See you soon (or you’ll be seeing me!) – Martin

Austin Bride with Veil

Austin/San Antonio Bride at Hotel Valencia

What is Wedding Photojournalism? We Create The Story Of Your Wedding Day.

Usually when I meet with brides prior to their wedding and we discuss their wedding photography needs, I tell them that Austin Americana Photography photographs weddings in a photojournalistic-style. And what that means to me as an Austin wedding photojournalist is that the photographs and images that I capture at their wedding should tell a story.

Another thing that I tell brides is that we photograph the unfolding wedding story as it happens, unrehearsed, throughout the day or night. And when we finish, we take a special selection of these images and put them together into a group of wedding photographs that tell a one-of-a-kind story about your wedding day.

Wikipedia defines photojournalism as,

“A particular form of journalism (the collecting, editing, and presenting of news material for publication or broadcast) that creates images in order to tell a news story. It is now usually understood to refer only to still images, but in some cases the term also refers to video used in broadcast journalism.” –

Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines photojournalism as,

“Journalism in which written copy is subordinate to pictorial usu. photographic presentation of news stories or in which a high proportion of pictorial presentation is used.”

Austin Military Wedding

Names of photographers or images of well known photographs come to mind when thinking of the word “photojournalism”. Nineteenth and twentieth century photojournalists such as Robert Capa (World War II), Henry Cartier-Bresson (international street photography) , Matthew Brady (U.S. Civil War), Margaret Bourke-White (Great Depression), Alfred Eisenstaedt (World War II) and others created iconic images that graced the pages of mainstream magazines and newspapers, inspiring multiple generations of photojournalism students and photographers. These photographers prided themselves on telling an honest, objective story with their photographs.

But as a modern wedding photojournalist, I don’t just stick the strict photojournalism principles that are used for capturing news as it happens in a purely subjective way. Austin Americana Photography attempts to add an additional layer onto telling the story of your day: Magic!

The truth is that much of what happens in our daily lives is often trivial and boring. Our lives are frequently habitual and routine, and unfortunately this can occur even at the most important events of our lives, including weddings. That’s why it’s up to the story teller (me, the photojournalist) to add some magic and excitement to what is happening, so that the images captured on wedding day have some pizzazz and intrigue.

As an Austin Wedding Photojournalist and Photographer, I want to create an air of energy and excitement to the “getting ready” photos of a bride prior to the ceremony. There should be some emotion and intensity that can be felt when viewing photos of a wedding ceremony. And hopefully a level of celebration and joy can be felt in images from the reception. Creating some emotion and stirring feelings in the viewer of a photograph is what Austin Americana Photography does and what makes the wedding special.

Round Rock Wedding

Say Cheese! Austin Downtown Wedding

Here’s a fun photo, and a potentially fun idea for brides looking to add some pizazz to the wedding celebration. There are a few photo booth companies in the Austin, Texas area that offer the mobile service of providing a photo booth with props for you and your guests to get crazy with. Say Cheese is one of those companies. These guys were having a great time with the portable photo booth!

Say Cheese!

Austin Wedding Photographer – “Best of Vol. 3″

I’ve posted some of my favorite wedding photos from the last 12-24 months in a series of blogs, Volumes 1 -3. The work I’m including is a collection of mostly wedding photographs that Austin Americana Photography captured at various weddings in the Austin, Texas area. Some of the Venues include places like Casa Blanca on Brushy Creek, Green Pastures, Canyon of the Eagles, Avery Ranch Resort, Laguna Gloria, Zilker Botanical Garden, as well as a few not-so-familiar other venues. There will be a 2nd volume of wedding photos to follow this one in the next day or so. Enjoy!

View more of my favorite Austin Wedding Photos: Volume 1 & Volume 2

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Austin Wedding Photographer – “Best of Vol. 2″

I’ve posted some of my favorite wedding photos from the last 12-24 months in a series of blogs, Volumes 1 -3. The work I’m including is a collection of mostly wedding photographs that Austin Americana Photography captured at various weddings in the Austin, Texas area. Some of the Venues include places like Casa Blanca on Brushy Creek, Green Pastures, Canyon of the Eagles, Avery Ranch Resort, Laguna Gloria, Zilker Botanical Garden, as well as a few not-so-familiar other venues. There will be a 2nd volume of wedding photos to follow this one in the next day or so. Enjoy!

View more of my favorite Austin Wedding Photos: Volume 1 & Volume 3

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Austin Wedding Photographer – “Best of Vol. 1″

Yesterday I photographed a fun wedding at Central Christian Church and Allan House near 12th Street and Guadalupe in Downtown Austin and on the way home it occurred to me that I haven’t been posting enough photographs of the weddings that I shoot. I think many times photographers get caught up in the job that they do, which is to take great photographs of the wedding at hand for their clients and then provide those images in some form directly to the client. Working for my clients is something I’ve been able to do well, but sometimes I forget to let the rest of the world know what I’ve been up to and to share my photographic work with my fellow Austinites.

So, I’m posting some of favorite wedding photos from the last 1-2 years. The work I’m including is a collection of mostly wedding photographs that Austin Americana Photography captured at various weddings in the Austin, Texas area. Some of the Venues include places like Casa Blanca on Brushy Creek, Green Pastures, Canyon of the Eagles, Avery Ranch Resort, Laguna Gloria, Zilker Botanical Garden, as well as a few not-so-familiar other venues. There will be a 2nd volume of wedding photos to follow this one in the next day or so. Enjoy!

View more of my favorite Austin Wedding Photos: Volume 2 & Volume 3Austin Wedding PhotographerAustin Wedding Photographer

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A 1930’s Style Austin Wedding at Mayfield Park

In March I had the pleasure of being selected as the official wedding photographer for a 1930’s wedding that occurred here in Austin at Mayfield Park. Having photographed many weddings which can become a bit “cookie cutter” in nature, this wedding definitely changed the typical look and feel of an Austin wedding and what an Austin wedding photographer shoots into something classic and fun.

It’s not that often that I get the opportunity to photograph a wedding or event that doubles as a costume party like this event did, which is pretty exciting. Obviously, the bride, groom and wedding party were all donning 1930’s wedding/dress attire. But what was great and what made the event all the more fun was that many of the guests also went to the trouble of dressing in the clothing styles of the early 1900’s.

And no detail of the wedding was left to chance. The theme of the wedding was 1930’s and not only was clothing of the utmost importance, but décor at the wedding was also in the turn-of-the-century style, along with the cake, flowers, etc. Mayfield Park Cottage also lent some genuineness and credibility to the event, given that Mayfield Park and Cottage was constructed around the turn of the century (around 1900?) and gives the feel of being on a rural homestead during the given period of time.

1930s black and white shoes

According to the Mayfield Park Community Project Website, Mayfield Park and Preserve is a suburban park that has been a relatively lengthy part of Austin’s history. The Mayfield Park Estate was handed over to the city of  Austin in 1971 by Mary Mayfield Gutsch for the purpose of creating public use parkland. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, it encompasses approximately two acres of lush, green gardens, mature palm trees, peacocks and ponds containing water lillies, as well as 21 acres of nature preserve, walking trails and wildlife habitat.

Geographically speaking, Mayfield Park is located West-Central of Downtown. It’s just a stone’s throw away from some very well known Austin Landmarks, including Camp Mabry, Laguna Gloria and Mount Bonnell, all names that are synonymous with the history of Austin as a city. In fact, Laguna Gloria and Mount Bonnell are two of my favorite engagement and bridal photography locations here in Austin!

More from “Allison Mayfield purchased the board and batten, twin-gabled cottage and 23 acres for his family as a summer and weekend retreat in 1909. A prominent Austin political figure, Mr. Mayfield was Chairman of the Railroad Commission and former Texas Secretary of State. He and his wife had one child, Mary Frances, who married Milton Gutsch in 1918. Dr. Gutsch was Chairman of the History Department at the University of Texas for many years. As a young couple, Mary and Milton moved into the cottage in 1922 and added porches to three sides of the house, reflecting the Bungalow style of the early 20th century.

Mary Mayfield Gutsch designed the gardens while Milton directed the building of the stone walls, ponds, and garden features with the help of Steve Arredondo, resident gardener for many years. The peacocks were gifts from friends in 1935 and their descendants are here today. The Mayfield-Gutsch family developed this site over a 62 year period. Dr. Gutsch died in 1967. Mary Mayfield Gutsch died in 1971 and left the home and acreage to the City of Austin to be used as a park.

An interesting feature of the park and preserve is the Sabal Mexicana Palms. These palms were introduced in the thirties and now are one of the predominant species growing throughout the preserve. Originally from the Rio Grande they have survived Austin’s climate and are naturalizing to the area.”

More history about Mayfield Park, including old photos can be found at the City of Austin PARD Mayfield Park website.

See ALL the photos from this 1930s wedding in Austin Here:

1930s Bride in 2011

Happy Bride and Groom

Zoot Suit

Home at Mayfield Park

Flowers on Table at Mayfield Park

Bride at Mayfield Park

To reserve the cottage and/or grounds, you can call (512) 974-6797 or visit: City of Austin PARD Mayfield Website – reservations. Maximum attendees for events: 200

Information for Photographers: Mayfield cottage and gardens provide a beautiful setting for pictures. Although there is no fee for taking professional pictures at Mayfield, a tax deductible donation in support of these historic gardens is encouraged and would be greatly appreciated. Send to: Austin Parks and Recreation Department – Mayfield Park/Community Project 200 S. Lamar, Austin, Texas 78704 –

My Favorite Austin Photographers

It seems like I do more than enough self promotion on my blog, specifically about the kinds of photography that Austin Americana does and the kind of clients we work with. But what about other photographers here in Austin, Texas? Austin is full of fantastic and wonderful photographers who specialize in all kinds of photography, from weddings to landscapes. Central Texas has an enormous pool of talented artists who regularly display their work in galleries and on websites for public viewing and enjoyment. So in the spirit of sharing and promoting others work and talent, I’d like to tell my readers about some of the talented photographers I’ve worked with or admired here in Austin. Eight of the nine artists listed below are people I’ve been taught by, worked with and/or consider a good friend.

Peter Tsai, Austin Photographer:

I met Peter while taking a photography class through the University of Texas Informal Classes. He is a very talented and soft spoken individual who never ceases to amaze me with his creativity and ideas. A particular favorite of mine is his “b-boy” photography, capturing break dancing in a beautiful way.

Joseph Pettyjohn, Austin Photographer:

Joe has to be one of the most relaxed, laid back photographers I know. I learned about landscape photography from him years ago during a UT Class. He specializes in landscape photography and is rarely without one of his trademark hats.

Tim Babiak, Austin Photographer:

Tim is an amazing portrait photographer who is overflowing with knowledge and information about portraiture. His photos are truly exquisite (like his business name) and his enthusiasm for photography is second to none. I have attended several of his Photography MeetUp groups which he graciously hosts and teaches at his home in Austin.

Carlos Austin, Austin Photographer:

I probably know more about wedding photography because of Carlos than any other single source. Carlos is a 3rd generation Texas photographer who photographs portraits and weddings. He is a true professional and he is a very experienced photographer and planner.

John Langford, Austin Photographer:

John is a master portrait photographer who tells stories through a single photograph, which is an amazing talent. He has a magnetic personality that provokes brilliant responses from his clients who are photographed in his studio. He also brings a level of eccentricity to his work that is creative and has led him on a world-wide journey recently.

Jason Wang, Austin Photographer:

Jason is a very good friend of mine who also happens to be a talented and up-and-coming photographer. He is capable of shooting a studio portrait one day, sports action shots the next and then following up with beautiful macro-photos of insects. He photographed my family portrait and has shot next to me on several important photographic assignments.

Jamie Kovach, Austin Photographer:

Jamie is a true art photographer at heart. She photographed weddings with me and eventually photographed my wedding. She has a knack for capturing images in a surreal, yet simple way. She has now taken on a new challenge, pursuing a master’s degree in fine arts photography – something that I have a sneaking suspicion she’ll be very successful with.

Kirk Tuck, Austin Photographer:

Although I must admit I’ve never met Kirk, I thoroughly enjoy reading his Austin Photography Blog, where he frequently discusses new photographic products, lighting and puts a personal spin on all things photography. He is inspiring and talented and perhaps one day I’ll have the opportunity to meet him.

Heather Wise, Austin Photographer:

Heather is a talented up-and-coming wedding photographer. She has worked with me on a number of weddings and bridal sessions. She is devoted to the trade of photography and has wonderful insight into her work and telling a wedding story.

Villa Antonia Wedding

One of the premier wedding venues in the Hill Country of Central Texas is a place called Villa Antonia. Villa Antonia is an Italian-styled villa located in Jonestown, Texas, just northwest of Austin, near Lake Travis. Historically, the villa was built in 1998 as a personal residence for family living. However, later, out of necessity, the home became a popular wedding and event center because of its beauty and magical feel.

Villa Antonia is modeled after post-renaissance Italian architecture. When one enters the grounds, there is a feeling of entering a time machine and going back to an earlier, more romantic time or place in Europe. Its architecture and design sets it apart from many other Texas venues and creates a special kind of atmosphere for weddings and special occasions.

Villa Antonia is equipped for indoor and outdoor wedding ceremonies and receptions. It has a beautiful indoor wedding chapel that seats a reasonable number of people. The outdoor patio that is partially covered can also facilitate a wedding ceremony and features sweeping views of the green Texas Hill Country.

Villa Antonia can accommodate medium to large sized weddings and features multiple levels for celebrations of all kinds and entertaining guests. The main indoor reception area is lined with stone walls and sprawling area for guests to mingle and dance. Some of the great features of the interior include the spiral staircase bathed in natural light and surrounded by green plants, which is a signature of Villa Antonia. Upstairs there are quiet, intimate quarters for the party of the bride and groom to prepare for the event/wedding.

Outside the main reception area statues and water features abound. In the main entry way, a stone fountain with a statue punctuates the center point between the wedding chapel, the main patio (used for outdoor ceremonies) and the reception hall. As one walks along the reception area and descending the stairs/walkway, plants and more water features are encountered, making you feel like you are in a Babylonian garden. There are also look out points on the third level of Villa Antonia where amazing, romantic views and star watching can occur.

Austin Americana Photography has photographed several weddings at Villa Antonia and has experience working with coordinators and management there. You can view one of the weddings we photographed there (from start to finish) here: Villa Antonia Wedding Photos

View entire wedding at Villa Antonia (our old website):

Villa Antonia is located at 19039 Adrian Way, Jonestown, Texas 78645-9605. Phone number: (512) 267-3509

Official Villa Antonia Website:

Austin Bridal Photo Session (Q&A)

I often have new and prospective wedding clients ask about bridal photography sessions. The primary and simple response that I give new brides is “yes, we can definitely photograph your bridal session and have a beautiful wedding or bridal print ready for your wedding day!”

Here are some frequently asked questions that Austin brides have asked about how the photo session works and some suggestions as well…

Q. Do you photograph brides for bridal portraits?

A. Yes! We have lots of experience photographing Austin brides donning their wedding gowns for a special photography session.

Q. Where will you photograph our bridal session?

A. You can choose wherever you’d like to be photographed, preferably in the Austin, Texas or Central Texas area.

Q. I’m new/unfamiliar with Austin, Texas. Can you suggest some nice locations for my bridal portrait session?

A. Sure! We have a list of about 20 popular photography locations in and around Austin that we share with our clients. We can also give you specific suggestions based on what kind of bridal session you want.

Q. How long does the bridal portrait session last?

A. Our Austin bridal session is 90 minutes long, which normally gives brides time to relax, move around and get lots of great poses at the location of their choice.

Q. Does the bridal photo session include a separate CD of images I can keep?

A. Yes. Brides receive a CD of edited, re-touched images (usually ranging from 50-150 full-sized, hi-resolution images).

Q. What all is included with my bridal photo session fee?

A. Our bridal session clients receive 90 minutes of shooting time, a CD of hi-resolution, edited images, free consultation to plan your event, expert shoot location suggestions, and quality personal service from a local Austin small business owner/photographer.

Q. Do you edit the images?

A. Yes, we individually edit all the images from your bridal photo session with Adobe Lightroom 3.0, the industry leader in photo editing. We can also apply artistic filters to your images, remove blemishes from skin, soften features and lots more.

Q. How long does it take to edit the images?

A. Normal editing of images requires 1-2 weeks.

Q. Do you have wedding photography packages that include a bridal session?

A. Yes we do. We have a number of wedding photography packages for Austin brides that include bridal sessions. In fact, you can also customize any package to include a bridal photo session so that your package is custom fit for your big day.

Q. Do you print the images from the bridal session or is it up to me?

A. It’s up to you. We have the ability to create and ship high quality, professional and stylish prints to your door, if you choose. You also have the option as a bride to print anywhere you desire.

Q. Do you work with an assistant at bridal sessions?

A. Occasionally we bring along an assistant to help out with bridal photo sessions, depending on the circumstances. You may bring along friends and family if you like.

Q. Are there extra fees associated with certain locations for my upcoming bridal session?

A. In many cases there are no other fees, but occasionally there are places that charge brides a “sitting fee” for using their location. Examples of places that charge fees include Zilker Botanical Gardens, The Driskill Hotel, Dunvegan Keep, and others.

Q. Will I have the opportunity to incorporate some of my bridal photos into my regular wedding album?

A. Yes, we can incorporate as many or as few of your bridal session photographs into your wedding album. We can also create a separate album of only bridal photos if needed.

Q. Does Austin Americana Photography provide printing and framing service? Will you deliver a print or framed print of my bridal session on wedding day?

A. Yes, we can do all these things. We provide optional printing and framing services for our wedding clientele. We can deliver a framed print of your bridal session on your wedding day if this is what you desire.

Q. What if the weather is bad. Is there a backup plan for my session?

A. Sure. If you don’t want to re-schedule, then we’ll either have you come into our home studio or choose an alternate indoor location.

Q. When should I schedule my bridal photo session with Austin Americana?

A. We ask that you schedule your bridal photo session a minimum of 2-3 weeks prior to your wedding day to allow for image editing, processing, printing, shipping, etc.

20 Questions To Ask Your Wedding Photographer

Bridal/Engagement season is off and running and we’ve been getting more emails and phone calls than normal with questions about wedding photography. Some of the questions I’ve been hearing are questions that I hear over and over from brides each year. I never get tired of answering brides questions, and in a way I feel like it’s my duty to share my experience and expertise whenever asked. In fact, when I started shooting weddings a number of years ago I prepared myself for the most difficult questions that a bride and groom might ask by looking online at different websites that had advice for brides-to-be, such as wedding planners, bridal boutiques, venues and wedding consultants. I figured that if I could honestly answer every question that these advice websites had for brides, then I’d be ready to be a wedding photographer.

My task: find every relevant question that a bride should ask a wedding photographer and ask myself how I would answer it. So, after many hours of research on the subject, I narrowed my frequently asked questions list down to around 20 questions (see below).

Until recently, I only shared this information with brides that met with me face-to-face. But at some point I started realizing that brides can easily get confused between qualified professional photographers and inexperienced photo novices who make big promises and often, sadly, disappoint brides with poor quality work (or no work at all).

But let’s lighten the subject for a minute and talk about wine. Why? Why not?! :) One of my favorite things to ask a wine drinker after they tell me about the expensive bottle of Merlot they just opened is if they know the difference between a $10 bottle of wine and a $110 bottle of wine. They usually shrug their shoulders and plead ignorance. The answer: $100

Unfortunately, photography isn’t that simple. Although many photographers look the same, we all charge significantly different rates and there’s a big difference between one photographer and the next, although it may be difficult to discern. Let me explain.

Each photographer brings a different set of skills, equipment and responsibility to an event. The key is to determine what you want and then be armed with the right questions to ask your photographer. As I tell many brides, anyone can put together a “best of” slideshow on a free photo website like Shutterfly; but can the photographer who will be responsible for capturing all the wonderful moments at the most important event of your life show you photos from a several past wedding (photos of entire wedding, start to finish)? Believe me when I say that it’s a big responsibility to be the photographer for a wedding – bigger than just owning a camera and saying you can do it.

casa blanca on brushy creek, round rock, TX

The reason I’m blogging about this topic this week is because I met with several brides-to-be this past week. In fact, I met with one bride in particular who was really enjoyable to meet with (our meeting was more like having a meal with an old friend). We enjoyed speaking with one another and she complemented my work several times, which I was grateful for. She also commented positively on Austin Americana’s pricing and professionalism. I left our meeting feeling confident that I would be photographing her wedding soon.

Unfortunately she contacted me a few days after we met to tell me that she had decided to allow a “photographer friend” to shoot their wedding instead of hiring me. I always respect bride’s decisions, even if they don’t choose me. In business, you get used to rejection – it’s just business! After all, you can’t take it personal and I certainly don’t.

But what frightens me about this situation is all the terrible wedding horror stories I’ve heard from brides over the years about bad experiences with novice photographers who make promises and then realize on wedding day that they can’t deliver. Is there a chance that her photographer will do a good job? Sure. But why take that chance when you can hire a professional? We all have car insurance, home insurance, life insurance, etc; When you write a check to a professional wedding photographer, you are buying insurance – a written guarantee that you will get great wedding photos of the most important day of your life.

So how do you tell the difference between a legitimate professional photographer who will take great photos at your wedding and deliver them to you -and- a novice who won’t? A good start is to ask the right questions. I’ve put together 20 questions that you should ask your wedding photographer. If they can’t honestly answer these questions with satisfactory answers to meet your wedding needs, then you should probably look elsewhere.

20 Questions to Ask Your Wedding Photographer

By: Martin Whitton, Austin Americana Photography©

1. What’s your primary style? Posed and formal, relaxed, photojournalistic, creative, artistic, candid, traditional?

Answer: I consider myself a photojournalistic wedding photographer, although I normally include the standard posed shots associated with most weddings today.

Photojournalistic wedding photography to me means shooting as many candid, unrehearsed moments as I can which capture the emotion of the day and which tell a story.

2. Do you shoot in color or black and white? Or both? Do you shoot in a digital format that can create both color and b/w versions of the same picture?

Answer: I shoot all digital, color photos, which means I can take a lot more photos quickly. In post production/editing I can choose to convert images to black & white, sepia and also utilize specialized filters for an artistic effect.

3. What type of camera do you use?

Answer: I shoot with 2 cameras (with one additional backup): Canon 5D Mark ii, EOS 40D & 30D, professional cameras that are well regarded in the

industry. In fact, as of the writing of this material (year 2010), the official photographer for our U.S. President is using the same camera that I do!

Bridal Photo - Austin, Texas

4. What kind of input can we have on the direction of the shots? Can we give you a shot list to work from?

Answer: I would like to get as much input as possible from you. I draft a Wedding Photo Schedule that is customized specifically for your wedding. The schedule allows you to see how many hours are needed for shooting your wedding and exactly who will be photographed when & where. You will have the opportunity to edit the schedule as much as you like.

5a. Are you the wedding photographer who will actually take our pictures? If not, can we meet the person who will be?

Answer: I will be your photographer the day of your wedding (unless otherwise specified). If a 2nd shooter and/or an assistant is needed, I’ll let you know.

5b. We would like 2 photographers for our wedding. Is this something you can provide?

Answer: Yes, we can provide 2 qualified professional photographers for your wedding. An additional fee for this service will be added to your wedding package price.

6. Is there a limit to how many photos you can take?

Answer: No, there is no limit (within reason) to how many photos I can take. My cameras are digitally formatted and use digital media cards to store each photo as it is snapped. I could potentially take 2,000 – 3,000 photos in a single outing. This is very unusual, however. I normally capture 500 – 1,500 images each outing.

7. How many times have you worked specifically as a wedding photographer? How many were similar to the size and formality of our wedding?

Answer: I’ve been photographing people and places since 2002. I photographed my first wedding professionally in February 2007. In 2009 my staff and I photographed approximately 75 events, including over 30 weddings in Austin, Texas. If you would like to see some of my work, please feel free to visit my website at M.Whitton Photography or our new Austin Americana Photo Blog, or ask for a slideshow presentation of some of my past wedding shoots.

8. How many other events will you also photograph that weekend?

Answer: We only photograph one event per day, which eliminates rushing your event or the possibility for errors in scheduling.

9. What kind of equipment will you bring with you? How intrusive will lighting, tripods, other equipment or assistants be?

Answer: Most of our equipment is very mobile and small. I don’t use lighting equipment (except on-camera flash, of course) unless necessary for exceptionally large group photos indoor. I don’t necessarily require the help of an assistant, but one frequently will assist.

10. Do you develop your own film? Do you offer albums?

Answer: I shoot all digital; there will be no film used. The edited image files are developed by quality, professional labs and shipped to your doorstep. Our albums are designed and printed by AsukaBook USA – a renowned, award-winning album company that strives for quality workmanship and style.

11. What type and how much assistance will you provide in planning my album?

Answer: I have partnered with AsukaBook USA to provide relatively seamless album services. We design your album using select images and email you an Adobe PDF file for review. Once you approve it the file is submitted for print and shipped to your doorstep! Yes, it’s that easy!

12. Will you give me the negatives or what is the charge?

Answer: My shooting fee includes providing you a DVD copy containing all of professionally edited images from your event, which allows you to conveniently print images at a discounted rate (No more waiting for the photographer to release rights or paying inflated print prices).

13. How long after the event will the proofs be ready?

Answer: Average turnaround time from wedding day to delivery is usually less than 2 – 4 weeks – sometimes less, sometimes more. Your DVD will be mailed to your doorstep once editing is complete. The proofs will be viewable on my website.

14. Will there be backup equipment available? And what happens if the photographer is ill?

Answer: I have invested in backup equipment for each camera and apparatus that I use. During your event, I will be shooting with at least 2 cameras. If for some reason I am no longer able to honor our agreement to be your photographer (hospitalization, for example), I would contact a reputable (qualified) photographer to act in my stead.

15. What attire will you and your assistants wear?

Answer: Professionalism is very important to me and I dress accordingly – normally in slacks and button-down long-sleeve shirts with a necktie. If the event calls for stepping up the attire, i.e., a tuxedo or suit, please let me know and I’ll be glad to oblige.

16. Can other people take photos while you are taking photos?

Answer: Yes, but I usually ask attendees to shoot before or after I shoot, to prevent confusion, blinking, flashing, etc.

17. Have you worked at my event location before? How did it work out?

Answer: I’ve worked at dozens of locations in and around Austin, both indoor and outdoor. I normally visit the ceremony/reception location 1-2 weeks beforehand to aid in planning the shoot.

18. Should the event last longer than scheduled, will you stay? Extra charge?

Answer: Normally planning prevents the need for additional time, but if needed, I will stay longer. I charge $200/hour for additional shooting time. Once your wedding schedule has been drafted we will be able to determine how much time will be required for your big day.

19. Can I get a discount? I don’t want everything you have to offer in a package price…

Answer: Sure, I offer discounts. If you would like to customize a package to fit your needs I will work with you. I also offer discounts at different times of the year to encourage new clientele and to offer more competitive pricing, including working with discount coupon online stores like Groupon, Localiter and DealOn.

20. After you’ve asked these questions of your potential wedding photographer, there are several questions you’ll want to ask yourself:

A. Do I like this person? B. Do I get along with them or get a good feeling from them?

C. Do I like their work as a wedding photographer?

D. Is it well lit, focused, well framed?

E. Looking at their albums/prints, do I feel like I have a good feeling for the wedding?

Chinese Jewish Wedding at Spicewood Vineyard


Sources:, 2007 and

Choosing a Church for Your Wedding

I recently received an email from a newly engaged friend and bride-to-be who asked if I could provide some advice for finding a church in Central Texas to host her wedding. While I’m not the expert on finding a church, I’ve been a part of dozens of weddings and events in and around Austin, so I thought I’d give her question some thought.

Essentially, there are two primary questions that you’ll need to find the answers to before moving on to the next step: planning. Assuming you’ve already chosen a particular church because of its significance, location or beauty, here’s what you should be asking your church representatives…

As it turns out, each church is different in how they deal with weddings and events. And there are a number of things to consider about a church prior to booking your wedding there. The first thing you should ask is if the church is available for the day that you are planning your wedding. This seems like the obvious thing to ask, and it is; and if inquiring about availability is the first thing that you ask you might save yourself some frustration and headache. After all, there’s no need to start making decoration plans and attending church-specific relationship classes if your day cannot be booked.

Assuming your day is available and the church is not somewhere you regularly attend, then the second question to ask is whether there are special requirements for non-members of the church to marry at the church you’ve chosen. Obviously different faiths have different requirements and restrictions on who can marry in their place of worship and how ceremonies can be conducted and by whom. Some churches are strict and some are not so just ask and you will know.

Here are some other considerations and questions that you’ll want to find answers to, based on you and your fiancé’s preferences, wedding size, etc.:

-         Is there a rental fee/cost associated with using the church you have chosen?

-         Will the church facilities accommodate a ceremony and reception? If so, for how many attendees?

-         Does the church require that you use their Officiant/priest/minister, or can you use an outside Officiant?

-         Do you need insurance for your event?

-         Do you need a written contract to use the church?

-         Does the church allow/limit decoration?

-         Is there a time limit for how long you are allowed to use the church? If so, is there an event following your ceremony/reception?

-         Do your wedding participants (bridesmaids/groomsmen) fulfill church-related obligations?

Helpful Hints: In many cases churches have a designated wedding coordinator who helps in planning and organizing weddings. The coordinator can be very helpful in providing you information about what the church needs and what is expected of you. Many times the coordinator is also on hand the day of your ceremony to help make sure things go as planned. Don’t be afraid to ask your coordinator for advice or help when it is needed. They’ve probably witnessed lots of weddings in the same venue and know what you need.

Bride & Groom Exchanging Nuptials

Central Christian Church - Austin, TX







Engagement Photos at Zilker Botanical

Austin Americana completed another successful engagement photo session at Zilker Botanical Gardens here in Austin this week. Thanks go out to my gracious subjects, Jen & David, who I met through DealOn and who’ll be getting married in May. Congratulations guys!

There will be lots more photos coming soon as a result of our successful promotional event that was through our friends at DealOn, including at least one wedding, multiple engagement sessions and even a newborn session – all coming soon! How exciting! Stay tuned…. :)

Zilker Engagement Session


Texas Designer Boots



Zilker Botanical Engagement Couple



Engagement Photo Zilker Park


A Chinese-Jewish Wedding at Spicewood Vineyard

In the Texas Hill Country about 35 miles due west of Austin (just west of Lake Travis) is a quiet, rural area that is home to Spicewood Vineyard. If you’re looking for a weekend trip (who can beat wine tasting?) or a place to host a great event like a wedding, then this is the place. Spicewood Vineyard stands out as an award-winning creator of wines with a Texas taste.

When I first visited the place (after a little winding, hill country driving) I was greeted by the friendly owners who welcomed me into the main tasting room. They were eager to share their home grown wines and talk about Texas wine. Honestly, I’m not very knowledgeable about Texas wines, or any wines for that matter, but I still enjoyed the conversation and the opportunity to try several different vinos.

Chinese Jewish Wedding at Spicewood Vineyard

Eventually, after some lively conversation and fun, we got around to talking about the real reason I was visiting: I would be photographing an international wedding ceremony there in a few weeks. I was whisked away for a tour of the barrel room and the grounds, including the lovely ballroom and vineyards. The whole place is beautiful and was a fantastic choice for such an important day.

If you imagine rows of green, viney grapes on a sprawling Texas farm in the Hill Country, then you’ve imagined Spicewood Vineyard. The grounds are beautifully manicured and well kept. The tasting room and barrel room where wine is kept is next to a beautiful ballroom. The ballroom is spacious and roomy with ample light and a bar, featuring beautiful stained concrete floors, a concert piano and lots of other details you can only appreciate in person.

My bride and groom married there a few weeks later. Their ceremony was a marriage of world culture and varied beliefs. She was Chinese and he was Jewish. They both loved to travel and to learn. The couple, together with their families, brought both cultures together in a way that you could hardly imagine. There was amazing cuisine, photographs, art, decorations, dress and more from all over the world. All told the event was a great success and was another memorable and special wedding that I was privileged enough to photograph.

Grapes at Spicewood Vineyard

If you would like to visit Spicewood Vineyards for a tasting or to see the facilities you can check out their website here, or make a short trip just outside of Austin. Information is below.

From the website: Wines from Spicewood Vineyards are available not only at the vineyard but also in Texas stores and restaurants. The winery features a large indoor tasting room and outdoor pavilion. The large underground barrel room can accommodate 400 barrels.

The winery is open for tours and tasting Wednesday through Sunday. In addition the winery also offers facilities for special events such as weddings, receptions and meetings.

Tasting Room Hours are:

Wednesday through Saturday 10 to 6

Sunday 12 to 5

Monday and Tuesday by appointment only.

Spicewood Vineyard, 1419 Burnet County Road 409, Spcewood, Texas

Phone: (830) 693-5328 ‎

Wine Barrel at Spicewood Vineyard

International Cuisine

Vineyards at Spicewood

Chinese Wedding Symbol
Outdoor Jewish-Chinese Wedding Ceremony
Piano in Spicewood Vineyard Ballroom

Casa Blanca on Brushy Creek Wedding

In Round Rock, just east of IH-35 on Hairy Man Road there’s a beautiful little estate called Casa Blanca on Brushy Creek. Casa Blanca is a large plantation-style home situated on Brushy Creek within the Round Rock countryside. It can accommodate large groups or small groups for just about any event. It features a large ballroom with floor to ceiling windows overlooking a green pasture and a river, private rooms for bride and groom, a large pavilion for ceremonies/parties, acres of lush, green space for outdoor ceremonies/events, plenty of parking and more.

When I first photographed an event at Casa Blanca I fell in love with the place and had difficulty finding fault with it. My first impression was visiting Casa Blanca and meeting the owners, George and LeAnne, who were very kind and welcoming. They take great pride in the facility and enjoy being a part of every event held there.

Guests get ready for the big "sparkler" bride/groom exit

casa blanca on brushy creek, round rock, TX

Fall Decorations at Casa Blanca

casa blanca bride and groom

casa blanca brushy creek night

casa blanca wedding decor

casa blanca groomsmen

mariachi at casa blanca

View of Backyard at Casa Blanca Brushy Creek

casa blanca at night

bride & groom at Casa Blanca Round Rock

Casa Blanca offers lots more than just beauty and majesty. They also offer many conveniences, such as in-house florist, DJ and more. Pricing is reasonable and you’re sure to enjoy all the conveniences offered in the city, available in the countryside.

These are photos from the last wedding I photographed at Casa Blanca: Monica & Eric’s Wedding. It was a joy to be a part of their big day and it was easily one of the more memorable weddings that I’ve photographed.



Zilker Botanical Garden Engagement Photos

This past week I had the pleasure of photographing another wonderful couple at Zilker Botanical Garden: Lindsey and Bryan. As I’ve blogged before, Zilker has to be one of the most popular places for photography of any kind in Austin. Not only is it a huge repository for plant life centered in Travis County (which is why people are drawn to it) but it’s also one of Austin’s little jewels that’s been around for many years. I’m pretty sure that the creators of Zilker never intended it to be one of the foremost popular venues for photography around Austin, but that’s what it’s become.

I met Lindsey and Bryan on a Saturday afternoon at Zilker to take advantage of the warm, orange evening sunlight. We walked to all of my favorite spots throughout Zilker and were able to capture some great photos. We even got some shots of Lindsey and Bryan in their Dallas Cowboys jerseys. All in all, it was a wonderful afternoon.


Couple Photographed at Zilker Botanical Garden



Wedding Ring Photos


More on Zilker: ZBG features many different plant species and specific garden areas that are dedicated to a particular theme or cultural plant cultivation, if you will. For example, one of the popular areas of Zilker is the Japanese Garden, which features Koi-filled fish ponds, stone trails leading around bamboo gardens and a structure made of stone and bamboo that only could fit into a Japanese garden . The entire area is shaded by trees and feels like being in another world.

Zilker also features a beautiful rose garden where weddings frequently occur. Colorful roses line the concrete paths that wind down the hill from the main entrance of the park. The Rose Garden area is very open, located at the edge of the tree line bordering the Japanese Garden. It also features a red and white gazebo next to fish ponds and a historic brick structure in the shape of a keyhole that has been apparently transplanted from historic downtown Austin.

Other areas featured at ZBG are the Prehistoric Gardens further down the hill from the main office, which feature “old world” plants, pools and even a beautiful, natural-looking water fall. Toward the front of the park is an area that contains historic Central Texas pioneer homes and work areas made of wood.

Ultimately there are many, many different areas of the Garden that offer photography opportunities for brides or couples. After visiting and photographing friends and family there for years I’ve grown to love and appreciate Zilker for the beautiful part of Austin that it has always been and hopefully will always be!


Martin Whitton is the lead wedding photojournalist for Austin Americana Photography. He lives and works in Austin, Texas. Email:

Downtown Austin Engagement Session

This past week I photographed a couple’s engagement in downtown Austin, which has been all-the-rage for some time now. Some of the wonderful elements that downtown has to offer are texture (which can be seen on brick walls/doors), skylines (imagine buildings stretching into the blue Texas sky) and murals. These were the things that I had in mind when I ventured downtown with Andrea and Taylor, and they made my job pretty easy.

Another concept that’s popular these days among both photographers and those being photographed alike is post processing of images – particularly contrast-y, grainy, saturated (i.e., heavily edited photography). And one of the great things that shooting digital allows is capturing the image as it is and then making copies of the image during post-processing for conversion to something different and artistic, which is what I’ve attempted to do here. The result means that I can provide my photography clients with a photo of what our shoot looked like (more/less) on the day we shot and also a version of the same photo that has been “artistically rendered”, shall we say.

Downtown Austin Engagement Session

Downtown Austin Engagement Session

Downtown Austin Engagement Session

At any rate, there’s lots to see in downtown Austin. If you frequent downtown only at night then I recommend coming downtown on a Sunday evening and taking a walk down the same streets you usually visit (during the daylight). You’ll be pleasantly surprised by what there is to see. And we all could use a little exercise! :)

Downtown Austin Engagement Session

Til Death Do Us Part - Downtown Austin Mural

Downtown Austin Engagement Session

Downtown Austin Engagement Session

Are You Prepared For Rain On Wedding Day?

Many people don’t know it, but many cultures believe that it is lucky for it to rain on wedding day. Be that as it may, there are still some issues to attend to if it rains on your wedding day. So are you prepared if it rains?

As a photographer I’ve seen several weddings that got “rained out”. Ok, so it wasn’t like a baseball game where everyone just goes home early in the 2nd inning and the game is rescheduled for another day. Weddings aren’t allowed to do the same things that occur at sporting events. These are once in a lifetime events where family and friends come from far away and where plans are made a year or more in advance.

The weddings that I photographed where rain unexpectedly appeared were outdoor ceremonies with indoor receptions. Well, that’s not completely true; one of them was actually supposed to occur entirely outdoor, but luckily when the rain started during the reception everyone was able to quickly (not by choice) move the event into the large, family residence on the property where the reception was being held. But not everyone is so lucky…

So what can you do to prepare for a possible rainy day?

Outdoor Wedding Reception In South Austin About 30 Minutes Before It Started To Rain

First, when you visit possible venues for your ceremony/reception ask if they have a plan in place in case it rains on the day of your event. Many popular wedding venues these days that host both the wedding ceremony and reception have the capabilities to facilitate both indoor and outdoor ceremonies and receptions. Since the bride and groom will likely be renting the entire facility for the day this usually means that the indoor facility will be at your disposal in the event of bad weather (assuming it will accommodate the number of people attending). But ask first.

If for some reason your outdoor ceremony or reception does not have the indoor contingency option, then you might consider renting tent(s) for the day. Tents typically make nice protection from direct sunlight and wind anyway, so having them at the ready for rain just makes sense.

Groomsmen Walking Indoors To Escape Rain During Reception

If it does indeed rain on your wedding day don’t let it ruin your day; embrace the cards that have been dealt you. You may have imagined a bright sunny morning or afternoon for your big wedding day, but rain can be refreshing and cathartic. And as a photographer I can tell you that it makes for dynamic and beautiful photography. So if you do all you can to prepare for the worst and it still rains, just smile and go on enjoying the most beautiful day of your life. Keep telling yourself that it’s good luck when it rains on wedding day! :)

View From Rainy Window of Austin, TX Wedding Reception

2010 Bride’s Choice Awards!

I just wanted to post a blog about a nice little award we (Austin Americana Photography – formerly Martin Whitton Photography) won earlier this year. We’re proud recipients and supporters of Wedding Wire!

Austin, Texas – January 19, 2010 -WeddingWire just announced Martin Whitton Photography (now Austin Americana Photography) has been selected to receive the 2010 Bride’s Choice Awards™ for Wedding Photojournalism!

The annual Bride’s Choice Awards™ recognizes and celebrates excellence in quality and service within the wedding industry, as determined by recent reviews and extensive surveys from over 500,000 newlyweds.

Bride And Her Flower Girl

Martin Whitton Photography (Austin Americana Photography) is among the top five percent of all vendors in the WeddingWire community, which includes over 100,000 wedding professionals across the US and Canada. Awards were given to winners across 19 different service categories, from wedding venues to wedding photographers.

“We are excited to recognize and honor the success of the top wedding professionals within the WeddingWire Community” said Timothy Chi, WeddingWire’s Chief Executive Officer. “The annual Bride’s Choice Awards™ program has given us the unique opportunity to highlight the best wedding professionals in each region as reviewed by brides and grooms who have utilized their services in the past year.”

We are happy to announce that Martin Whitton Photography (Austin Americana Photography) is among the very best  Wedding Photojournalism within the WeddingWire Network, which includes WeddingWire and Martha Stewart Weddings. We would like to thank our past newlyweds for nominating us for the 2010 Bride’s Choice Awards™.

For more information, please visit our home at or our WeddingWire Storefront today at

“Getting Ready” Wedding Photos

I have a lot of favorites when it comes to photography of weddings, but I think one of the things that I enjoy photographing most is watching things unfold before the ceremony as the bride and groom get ready. You can almost feel the magic and mystery in the moment of anticipation – it’s the calm before the storm when you can almost feel the electricity in the air. The bride and groom ready themselves both physically with elaborate costumes, jewelry and makeup for one of the biggest moments of their lives: when they will stand before their friends and family and a higher power to commit to one another everything they have.

Normally for the groom and groomsmen it is a time of camaraderie and reflection. But for the bride it is the foremost time of her life where she shines like never before. All of her bridesmaids, her mother and other family members recognize that she has officially made the transition from single daughter to independent woman. Like a burgeoning flower, her beauty is in full bloom and at this moment her womanhood has come into full fruition. Everyone around her recognizes the amazing, glowing aura that emanates from the bride. She is confident and hopeful for the fortuitous future that lies ahead of her and her groom.

Bride Looks Into Mirror Before Wedding Ceremony

Like I said, the “getting ready” shots are a fun thing to capture with a camera. The moments before the wedding ceremony are frequently bursting with emotion and excitement. And if I do my job right as a photographer all this is translated into the images that my camera captures.

Bride's Dress on Hanger

Stylist Applies Makeup To Bride

Bridesmaids Help Fit Bride w/ Her Dress

Groomsmen Having Some Fun Before Ceremony

Mom Applies Some Finishing Touches To Bride's Gown


Bride Gazes Into Mirror

Bridesmaids Lend a Helping Hand To Bride

Bride And Her Flower Girl

Groomsmen Prepare For Wedding Ceremony

Bride Does a Makeup Check...

Favorite Wedding Cake Toppers

Over the years I’ve seen lots of different wedding cake toppers. Some have been funny, some have been traditional and others have been unique. The wedding topper is like the flag that a ship flies; it sort of sets the tone and mood for a cake.

Bride Chasing Groom (My Favorite!)

The old traditional topper was usually a depiction of a happy, in love bride and groom or of wedding bells. But these days there are a few new ones to choose from that give your cake a little personality and set it apart in some instances. What will your cake have on top?

Check out some of the memorable or favorite toppers that I’ve photographed over the past few years…

Bride & Groom Holding Guns

Decorative Flower and Vine Motif for Pseudo-Topper

More Traditional Wedding Cake Topper

Bride & Groom Ball & Chain I

Bride & Groom Ball & Chain II

Topper with Cupcakes

Photography Good Enough For The President!

A few months back I blogged about how excited I was to announce a new addition to my wedding camera family: the Canon 5D Mark ii. While it probably doesn’t mean much to my wedding and portrait clientele that I’ve upgraded, to a photographer it means a lot. To the photographer it’s the difference in a full frame and partial frame sensor; greater flexibility in low-light situations; the ability to capture high-resolution HD video and more. Ultimately for my brides and grooms it means that they’ll be getting more great shots than ever with an increased quality in images that can be seen in the printing process.

Ring Bearer & Flower Girl Are Escorted Toward Austin Wedding Ceremony

I recently read an article that President Obama’s official portrait was taken with the Canon 5D Mark ii as well, which really surprises me. So now I’m telling my clients that if the Canon 5D Mark ii is good enough for our American President, then it’s definitely good enough for their wedding photographs. It’s definitely an exciting time for photography in America as we watch things change and evolve so quickly. I’m proud to be an American Photographer!

Large Floral Boutonnière In Groom's Tux at Austin Wedding Ceremony


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