Award-Winning Filmmaker turned Wedding Photographer
Welcome! I’m Carl, an award-winning LA filmmaker turned PNW wedding photographer. I’ve been capturing memories and creating artwork for couples since 2009. My artistic lifestyle is a balance of timeless class and candid journalism. First of all, I incorporate movement into my images whenever I can. This stems from my background in producing, directing, and acting. Bride’s that hire me want iconic images that don’t look or feel posed.
Every couple is unique and quirky in their own way, as is every wedding. There is no right way to do something. If you’re unsure of what to do, the answer is usually what feels right and authentic to you. I’ve photographed weddings where couples dropped several hundred thousand dollars and weddings that are a backyard BBQ. Chances are I’ve been there, done that or I’ve done something very similar. Seriously, I am a wealth of insight and tips, so please don’t be afraid to pick my brain. I am here for you, and I am happy to help.
Most importantly, I will help you figure out what your big day will look like. I will work with you on your timeline and present options to you so you can maximize your photography time. I do this for all my clients to ensure we get the images that are most important to you, and to put your mind at ease. My goal is to alleviate as much of the day of stress as I possibly can so you can fully enjoy yourselves. Because the more relaxed you are, and the more you are able to enjoy yourselves, the more genuine moments of love and laughter I’m going to capture for you. Besides creating artwork for you, it’s very important to me that you have a fantastic time on your wedding day!
Petersen Pictures is a full-service photography company in Tacoma, Washington with clients in Seattle, Los Angeles, and Worldwide.
We’ve most recently been featured by the following publications:
- I’m awkward around cameras. Is that going to be an issue?
Most people I photograph tell me they are not photogenic, and a majority of the images you see on my website are of "un-photogenic" people. The biggest trick to making you look good is making you feel good. I have a knack for capturing people at their best. I like to keep things light and fun. I have couples focus on each other instead of on me. I have you move around and sometimes do silly things, sometimes I'm the one doing silly things. I always say the more you are willing to loosen up and have fun, the more real genuine moments of love and laughter I'm going to capture.
The biggest piece of feedback I receive from clients is that I was able to put them at ease and make them feel comfortable. It comes from my background in directing, acting, and improv. Most importantly, it's because I genuinely care about the people I'm working with and I want you to have a good time.
One of the most important and underrated aspects of wedding photography is choosing a photographer who you feel personally comfortable with; someone that you would actually want to invite to the biggest party you will ever plan, and hopefully someone who makes you laugh. This is why I try to meet with all my wedding clients in person or over video chat, to give them a chance to see if I am that person for them, and vice versa!
- How long will it take to get my photos?
- This depends on the time of year. Later in the summer my editing load builds up a little more as I’m busy shooting multiple weddings, engagements and portrait sessions every week. Most couples will wait 2-4 weeks to get their wedding photos, and I guarantee an absolute maximum of 60 days in my contract. Portrait sessions take less than 2 weeks.
- How do you prefer to communicate?
- Email is the best way to contact me. Phone calls and texts are fine. Sometimes messages through Facebook and Instagram get buried, so if it's time sensitive shoot me an email or call me.
- Am I allowed to print my images?
- Yes, with no watermarks or size restrictions. If you get your prints through me they'll be from a professional lab with the highest quality photo paper you can get with the best color, and anything larger than an 8x10 receives a complimentary premium edit (blemish removal, softening skin, whitening teeth...etc.).
- How do I book with you?
- Head on over to my contact page and send me a message with all the juicy details. If it's a portrait session we can book right then with payment up front. If it's a wedding we’ll figure out a time to either meet in person or over video chat if you aren’t local to the Tacoma/Seattle area. Once you know you want to work with us, I require a $1,000 deposit and a signed contract to hold your wedding date.
- What kind of equipment do you use?
- I have two Canon Mark iii full frame DSLR cameras, each equipped with a variety of Canon L series glass. I have 4 speed lights for off-camera flash and an array of diffusers and reflectors.
- Are all the photos edited?
Yes, all the photos will be edited and color corrected so each image is the best it can be.
Any print that is larger than an 8x10 and any image that takes up an entire page in an album receives a complimentary premium edit. You will receive a hard and digital copy of each premium edit.
Premium edits are $50 per image and include blemish removal, softening skin, whitening teeth, etc.
Signature edits are $150 per image and include all the bells and whistles of the premium edit in addition to manipulating the image with dodging and burning specific areas of the image, object removal, sky swapping...etc.
- How long have you been a professional photographer?
- I've been a professional photographer on my own since 2009, and still going strong!
- How do I get my photos after?
- Your photos will be delivered to you in an online gallery on my website, from the gallery you can print, view, share, and download high resolution files to your heart’s content. Once you've made your choices on prints and albums you will receive a thumb drive with all all your images along with any premium edits that have been done.
- Do you work with a second shooter?
- Yes, I have several second shooters that I know and trust in the area that I work with on a regular basis.
- How many images will I get back?
- I typically deliver around 75-100 images per hour of shooting. I do not work around a target number of delivered images. What this means is that I will never hold back on delivering a good photo because I’ve already reached a quota; If an image is sharp and in focus, well exposed, has good expressions and is NOT a duplicate (Nobody wants 17 photos that are almost identical but someone's arm is bent slightly different) then I will deliver it.
- Are you able to shoot at night or in dark situations?
- Yes! I have tricks up my sleeve for shooting when it's dark. Off camera flash is one of them, and just know that a little more setup time is required for such situations.
- Should we have an engagement session?
- Yes! There is literally no better way for us to get to know each other and for you to feel confident and comfortable with your photographer than through an engagement session. I can’t count the number of couples who have told me they were so nervous about getting their wedding photos taken, but once they went through the experience of an engagement session and got their photos back, it completely put them at ease for their wedding day. It gives you a chance to experience how I work and direct, it gives us a chance to talk and get to know each other, and it’s also a great opportunity to create whatever kind of images we want without the timing and location constraints of a wedding day. We don’t always have the time on a wedding day to drive to a remote beach on the coast, at sunset and hike for 20 minutes to the incredible location that you had your first date, but that’s no trouble at all with an engagement. Further, I want these images to reflect this point in your lives and have an authenticity to them. I want to include these little pieces of your lives so that the photos have more to them than a pretty backdrop (although I love pretty backgrounds). For some couples it means going to the place they always walk their dog, or cooking dinner together at their home, or snuggling with their fur baby, or hiking on their favorite backcountry trail, or barbequing at the family lake cabin with a beer in hand, or doing a puzzle or board game together. The only limitation is your imagination, and even then you can be sure that I’m around to help out and give recommendations. I never force anyone to get an engagement session who doesn't want to, but I 100% wholeheartedly believe it will make your wedding photos better, and that you will be thankful you did.
- Do you deliver RAW files?
- I shoot and edit every wedding in RAW to ensure the maximum amount of exposure and colour information is available for my editing, however I deliver edited and finished high resolution JPEG files and do not include RAW files with my packages.
- Do I own the copyright to my photos once you deliver them to me?
- As the content creator, under U.S. copyright law I am the copyright owner of the images. However, you have the freedom to post, share, print, and use your images for personal use however you see fit. I do not watermark my images and you’re free to print them at your lab of choice if you decide not to use the professional print lab included with your online galleries or take advantage of the premium edits that are included with any print larger than an 8x10. What you can’t do is provide them to any sort of commercial entity for commercial use, so if your wedding venue or makeup artist contacts you about using my artwork to promote their business, just send them my way and I would be happy to work out a usage agreement.
- Will my photos show up on your website?
- As a photographer it’s important for me to be able to show my existing body of work to attract new clients and illustrate what I can do! Typically, you can expect to see a few highlights from my shoots with you to show up on my website, portfolio, blog and social media. Sometimes there are special circumstances when people have sensitive occupations like undercover police officers, witness protection, or if you're a public figure, and of course I will respect that.
- Any suggestions on what to wear?
- Yes! Before your photo session you will receive an email with a couple links to Pinterest boards with wardrobe suggestions.
- Are you insured?
- Yes, I am fully insured with both equipment insurance and liability insurance
- Should we have a first look?
In my experience as a wedding photographer and being a groom on my own wedding day, the first look is the most memorable and emotional moment of the entire day. It’s the moment when all the nerves, anxiety, and stress crumbles away, leaving just you and your soon-to-be life partner. It’s incredibly intimate and there’s a certain magic about it, and I’ll be there to capture it. I like to give the couple their space letting them hug, kiss, and giggle. Once I feel that you are ready to move on, we’ll transition into portraits. I find that directly following this moment is when the bride and groom are most relaxed, they’re present, and their giddy love shows in the pictures. A thing to note here is that you will also look your absolute best fresh out of hair and makeup.
You’ll get better, more creative photos before the ceremony when you aren’t thinking, “Oh, I didn’t say hi to aunt Ethel yet!” And couples that do the First Look are still emotional when the bride walks down the aisle. The groom still tears up, the bride still has a radiating smile, and it didn’t diminish a thing. During the ceremony there are a lot more distractions, people, and lighting that I can’t control. So there are a lot more variables that can alter that perfect moment. I guarantee I’ll be able capture a lot more gold during that first look.
The more portraits we are able to do prior to the ceremony allows for a more relaxed and enjoyable experience for everyone involved, including your bridesmaids and groomsmen who will most likely want to enjoy a cocktail after the ceremony.
Every time I’ve suggested the first look to a couple that wasn’t planning on having one, they have gushed afterwards how happy they were that they decided to do it. Now all that said, it is ultimately about you, so whatever you decide is going to be the right choice.
- What if the wedding runs late? Can I ask you to stay longer?
- Yes absolutely, I don’t schedule any other shoots on wedding days and if you need me to stay for some extra time I’m happy to do so at my additionally hourly rate of $250/hr. If I stay for less than 15 minutes extra there is no charge.
- Can we reschedule due to bad weather?
- Yes! I've shot in all types of weather, especially a bit of rain being in the PNW. However, if you're not feeling up to the weather on your scheduled shoot date, we can absolutely reschedule. Obviously this isn’t an option on wedding days, but I'm quick on my feet and I will always have a game plan. I've shot many weddings on rainy days and have never come up short on producing amazing images.
- What happens if you get sick or injured?
- In a decade of doing business, I’ve never missed a wedding for any reason and I intend to keep it that way. If something unexpected were to ever happen I have several outstanding photographers that I know personally, that match my style that I could call upon to step in for me. I will present their portfolio to you and give you the choice of approving them to shoot your wedding or I will refund your money and you can find another photographer of your choosing. Bottom line is, I will never leave any of my clients stranded without a photographer.
- Have you worked with videographers?
- Yes and I would love to provide you with some recommendations! I’ve worked with video teams of all varieties and always communicate clearly and positively to ensure we can both capture the imagery that we have promised for you.
- Do you take any breaks on my wedding day?
- The only break I take on the wedding day is a short dinner break, typically no more than 15 minutes. This gives me a chance to refuel and recharge for the rest of the reception.
- Do I need to provide dinner?
- Yes, I ask that you provide 2 meals like the ones your guests have for me and my 2nd photographer to take our only break. I prefer to eat away from guests so I can spend the few minutes I have eating and not talking. It's best if I eat at the same time you do because that's when you won't want photos of you chewing. That way, when you're done I'll be ready to capture candid moments of you with your guests mingling.
- Can we go to multiple locations on my wedding day?
- Absolutely. I will work with you to design the best possible schedule for including the locations you want while maximizing your photo time and ensuring we aren’t spending half the day in the car. This goes for engagement sessions too.
- Do you shoot destination weddings?
- Yes! I LOVE destination weddings. Traveling and shooting in new places energizes me creatively and the bonding experience I have with couples while enjoying new things is always fun.
- What do you charge for travel?
- Because I love travelling and shooting in new places, I aim to make bringing me to wherever you’re going as accessible as possible. This means I don’t charge you for my travel time, just my direct travel expenses like gas, food, airfare, accommodations etc. Every location is different and travel expenses can vary throughout the year, so contact me for more details.
- What forms of payment do you accept?
- I accept cash, checks, and payments through Zelle and Venmo to firstname.lastname@example.org. There's a 3% service fee if you want to use a credit card or Paypal. Checks can be made out to Petersen Pictures.
- What's your payment structure?
- A $1000 deposit is due at the time of booking to hold your wedding date. The remaining balance is due 30 days before your wedding date. Payment for portrait sessions are due prior to your session.
- Do you have recommendations on how to schedule a wedding day?
- Absolutely. That's why I ask every couple I work with to fill out a timeline builder that I provide. This way we can maximize on your photography time, make sure things run smoothly, and eliminate any day of stress.
- What do you wear to a wedding?
- My aim at every wedding is to blend in as if I were a wedding guest. This typically means dress pants, leather shoes and a button-down shirt with a tie. If you have specific wardrobe requirements, I am more than happy to meet them.
- Do you shoot formal and family photos too?
- Yes, and I'm very, VERY good at it. If you are able to make a family portrait list for me that will help things run smoothly. Each grouping averages 2-3 minutes. I will ask you to select a family member or someone in your wedding party that is good at wrangling people as that is always helpful in keeping things moving. I typically start with the largest group first and work my way down giving priority to elderly people and small children. My advice is don't get carried away with different combinations of people. Be selective. In my experience, more groupings brings more fatigue. 99% of the time the only family portraits that end up in an album or being printed are the extended family and the immediate family. That said, you are calling the shots, and I will photograph every grouping that is important to you.
- Are your packages taxed?
- Yes, by law I am forced to charge a 9.9% Washington State sales tax.
- Do you work off shot lists?
- While I work with every couple to ensure I know and understand their photo priorities for the day, including specific areas of extra attention and focus, and detailed family photo lists, I do not work off pre-determined shot lists to mimic or copy other photographers’ work. What this means is that you can tell me that your relationship with your grandparents is extra important to you and you would love some photos that highlight that, or that you worked extra hard to hand craft all of your stationary yourself and would love some extra images of it, but please don’t provide pre-determined or contrived compositions for me to track and mimic throughout the day (i.e. Full length shot of bride in front of mirror looking over shoulder with mother crying in background). Many wedding magazines and websites like to provide these lists to help protect couples from inexperienced photographers who don’t know to get images of the flowers, and all the bridesmaids, and you and your mother, and your dance with your father etc. You’re hiring me not only for my technical expertise in creating images, but also for my creative judgement and expertise from a decade of wedding experience in hundreds of weddings determining where to focus my cameras and energy. A detailed a contrived shot list or Pinterest board of photos does not allow me to take in and capture your wedding day as it unfolds, but rather creates a distraction from being present for the unique and unpredictable moments that fill each and every wedding.
- Am I allowed to put my photos online?
- Of course! I know as well as anyone that the main way people like to share their images these days is online (But you should 100% get some physical prints made!!!) I only ask that anywhere that you share my images that you would credit or tag @PetersenPictures to provide credit for the artwork I’ve created, and that if uploading to a service like Instagram that you would not apply filters overtop the carefully crafted edits I have provided for you.
- What is your cancellation policy?
- Cancellations are a tough situation that nobody wants to encounter, but we need to have a plan just in case. Because of the nature of weddings happening primarily on weekends during the warmer part of the year, those dates are valuable and limited, and most wedding bookings happen well in advance and dates cannot typically be filled with a late cancellation. Sometimes I will receive as many as 20 inquiries for a single date, and there’s no way to know from year to year which dates may be twice as popular as the weekend before or after. Once you’ve booked your wedding with me, I turn away all other inquiries for your date and as such I need to be protected in the event of a cancellation for the lost work and revenue. To accommodate all of this as best as possible, while aiming to be fair to both my couples and myself, my cancellation policy is as follows: In the event of a cancellation, if I am unable to fill the date with another booking, the $1,000 deposit will not be refunded. Should I happen to fill the date after a cancellation with another booking, you will be entitled to a refund, unless we have already shot your engagement session in which case you will not receive your $1,000 deposit back.
- Do you deliver black and white photos?
- A small portion of the images I deliver (typically 5%) are black and white. The black and white images are usually my favorites or where I feel it better suits the image, but the vast majority of images I deliver will be in color.