10 Questions with Bradley Hanson

WeddingRule Interviewed one of the most popular and sought-after wedding photographers in Minnesota, Bradley Hanson Photography. Saint Paul based Bradley is the founder and owner of Bradley Hanson Photography.

Bradley Hanson Photography

Photographer - Bradley Hanson

10 Questions with Bradley Hanson

1. Introduction: What's your story?

I'm Bradley Hanson, owner of Bradley Hanson Photography, LLC. I landed my first wedding in Seattle in 1999 somewhat by accident.

After a couple loved the portraits I made for them, they asked if I would shoot their wedding. I said yes, but was secretly terrified. Fortunately, my naivety was inadvertently a bonus because I photographed that wedding the same way I photographed news stories: as discreetly as possible and recognizing key moments at the speed they are happening rather than directing the action or creating artificial scenarios.

I don't have the preconceived notions of an advertising photographer. I prefer to work spontaneously. It's like a bell goes off in my mind when I see everything fall into place in the frame and the shutter is pressed at that instant of harmony. I am always looking and waiting for the next bell.

Weddings are extremely personal events, and my travels have given me the experience with nearly every possible setting and lighting condition imaginable. Despite being 6'2", the ability to blend in to any situation and disappear into the background is what allows me to make the images that resonate most with me and my clients.

I learned early on that showcasing a portfolio of images that speak to me will attract the kind of clients who share the same visual aesthetic. This accidental wisdom has served me well and I am always excited to work with couples who love photography.

Every wedding is unique and while I never know exactly what to expect my goal is the same: to push myself to see the world in new ways and to create timeless images that both me and my clients will love, now and decades in the future. I am just as excited to see the final images as you are!

2. How long have you been shooting weddings? How many weddings have you photographed?

I have been shooting weddings since 1999, and according to my Excel spreadsheet keep all of my wedding details on, I've personally photographed 587 weddings in the past 21 years!

3. How would you describe your photography style?

This one is just as difficult for photographers as it is for musicians. My work has been referred to as "cinematic," "documentary style" and "wedding photojournalism" as I act in the role of observer rather than director.

I think a more useful answer would be to elaborate about my approach to photography. I see photographs in everything. I am always looking at light and carry a camera with my all day everyday. Unless I'm swimming, of course. Although I am by nature a very social person, I try to be as discreet and invisible as possible. I don't direct the action: I observe and wait for specific moments. I am drawn to beautiful light and strong compositions.

I have a background in graphic design that also helped shape the way I shoot. I operate under the assumption that being photographed is really weird and uncomfortable for most people. I know it is for me. I find that my clients value seeing beautiful images of things that really happened rather than situations manufactured or staged by the photographer.

Most of the time, I begin photographing you getting ready, which gets you used to being photographed and allows me to disappear into the background for the rest of the event. The highest compliment I can receive is "How did you get all these? I don't even remember seeing you!" What you are saying when you hire a photographer is "I like your style. Please take photos like these at my wedding."

People inspire me. My wife and children inspire me. Music inspires me. Ideas inspire me. Movies, particularly surreal French movies like "Amelie," inspire me. I don't intentionally look at wedding magazines or wedding photographs. I don't follow trends and I don't like gimmicks. I shot film forever and when I made the slow, late transition to digital, it was only after I was able to make my digital work look exactly like my film portfolio. Your images should look timeless and classic so they look as good in 50 years as they do today.

I don't go into a wedding with a pre-determined idea of what I'm going to do. I react to what is going on and make images as they unfold. While this approach technically puts more pressure on me because I don't know exactly what to expect, it gives me the images that are in my portfolio and it gives you real images of things that, in many cases, you will be seeing for the first time. I continually push myself to see things in new ways and would never approach a wedding with a template of standard photographs because I am not interested in repetition or formula.

I am interested in you, your friends, your family and the things that make your wedding unique. I'm reacting to what I see at your wedding rather than telling you what to do and putting you in the exact same poses and scenes as the wedding last weekend.

When it comes to photographs of the couple, my approach evolves depending on the comfort level of the couple, how demonstrative they are and how they naturally interact together. I will NOT ask you to dip your spouse or have you and the wedding party all hold hands and jump up. I will NOT ask you to make your hands in the shape of a heart. I will NOT ask you to stand far away from each other and look bored like two teenagers in an Abercrombie and Fitch ad.

I do everything in my power for you to feel comfortable and natural in front of the camera, because I want you to look great in the photographs as much as you do.

4. How well in advance should couples book their wedding photographer?

Ideally, as soon as you find someone who's wedding images resonate with you! Most clients book about a year ahead, some up to 1.5 years ahead, and occasionally less notice if it's a reschedule or a date other than a weekend...

5. What are the different packages that you offer and which one is your most popular package?

My pricing ranges from $3500 to $12,000, from 6 hours of coverage to multiple day coverage for large weddings out of state or out of the US. Most clients book at around the $5000 level, depending on a number of factors

2021 WEDDING OPTIONS

$6500
Up to 12 hours of coverage on your wedding day
Web site with wedding image slide show and web print ordering
High-resolution, color corrected files on USB drive
60 image 10x10 wedding album
Engagement portrait with website and images on disc
Additional hours of photography only $300/hr

$4995
Up to 8 hours of coverage on your wedding day
Web site with wedding image slide show and web print ordering
High-resolution, color corrected files on USB drive
60 image 10x10 wedding album
Engagement portrait with website and images on disc
Additional hours of photography only $300/hr

$3500
Up to 6 hours of coverage on your wedding day
Web site with wedding image slide show and web print ordering
High-resolution, color corrected files on USB drive
Engagement portrait with website and images on disc
Additional hours of photography only $300/hr

$3000
Up to 5 hours of coverage on your wedding day
Web site with wedding image slide show, and web print ordering
High-resolution, color corrected files on USB drive

EXTRAS
Additional hours of photography: $300
10x10 60-image hand-bound leather cover wedding album with photo on cover: $1000
10x10 90-image hand-bound leather cover wedding album with photo on cover: $1500

Retainer is $2000 to reserve your date. I accept all major credit cards, Venmo, PayPal and checks

6. Are you the wedding photographer who will be shooting on the wedding day? Who else is there in your team?

I personally have photographed ALL of the 587 weddings I've been to. I sometimes bring an assistant or will hire a 2nd photographer for specific requests, but every image on the portfolio is mine, which allows me to guarantee quality.

7. Do you charge a travel fee? For what distance? What does that cover?

I don't charge travel fees for in-state weddings in Minnesota and Washington State. For other states or international, all that is required is airfare and lodging for the duration of the event. This is something that we will discuss during the consultation stage.

8. Are albums or prints included in your packages?

Yes. See package listing for details.

9. How long after the wedding will the couple receive the images? How will they be delivered?

I'm as excited to see the photographs as you are. Really. During peak season (June through October), I typically deliver images to clients in about 4 weeks. In the quieter months, it's usually more like 3 weeks. I operate on the premise that quality is more important than speed. I always do my best rather than just crank things out to get them done. I am a perfectionist and personally do all of the editing myself. A lot of photographers outsource post production/editing to assistants or to editing companies that might even be in other states. I'm way too picky to do this, so I prefer to control the whole process for quality control and consistency. I won't settle for second best and neither should you. I deliver images via high resolution download or on USB drive, whichever you prefer.

10. What is your cancellation and/or refund policy?

My retainer fee holds the date and acts as a "deposit," coming off the final amount due. I don't refund retainer fees, but I am happy to allow my clients to reschedule for unexpected events, something that has been an essential level of flexibility during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Awards

WeddingRule Editor’s Choice 2020