10 Questions with TJ Stansbury

WeddingRule Interviewed one of the most talented and highly sought-after wedding photographers in Missouri, TJ Stansbury of TJ Stansbury Photography. Kansas City based TJ is the founder and owner of TJ Stansbury Photography.

TJ Stansbury Photography

Photographer - TJ Stansbury

10 Questions with TJ Stansbury
  • Business: TJ Stansbury Photography
  • Location: Kansas City, Missouri MO
  • Experience: 5 Years
  • Photography Types: Elopements, Engagements, Weddings
  • Profile: TJ Stansbury Photography
  • Website: tjstansbury.com

1. Introduction: What's your story?

I'm TJ Stansbury, aka @tj.kc on Instagram. I photograph weddings & elopements for a living, and I really love it. I started photography about 8 years ago, but have been doing photography as my full-time job for 5 years. I picked up a camera for the first time in high school during photo journalism class. Almost immediately I realized my potential for documenting stories in an honest way. After just one year I was empowered by my teacher to be the chief photo editor for my high school. This gave me the confidence I needed to continue pursuing this new skill. Throughout college I slowly gained experience as a professional photographer by shooting dozens of weddings per year. As I approached college graduation I had to decide whether to go all-in on wedding photography, or to pursue some sort of employment elsewhere. The decision was easy. Now I get to do what I love every day, with the chief goal that was established from the start: document stories in an honest, journalistic, beautiful way.

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

I have been shooting weddings since 2016. I've lost count, but well over 100 weddings!

3. How would you describe your photography style?

My goal when photographing is not to create anything; It’s to document your story. I believe that your photos should be about your wedding. Your wedding shouldn’t be about your photos. My desire is to be a fly on the wall documenting the important, emotional, real moments that matter. When it comes to editing, my goal is to bring out how the environment actually looked and felt. So, if it’s a bright, warm, and colorful day in Palm Springs, the photos will certainly reflect that. I want all of the couples I shoot to remember exactly how their day looked and felt. I believe my responsibility is to document your day as it was, steering clear of any editing trends that come and go.

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

As soon as you solidify a date! I book anywhere from 6-18 months out.

My peak months are May-July and Sep-Nov. Dates during these months go quickly, so usually at least 12 months in advance.

My peak days during those months are Saturdays. I also love getting to shoot weekday elopements which generally book me 3-4 months in advance.

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

My most popular package is a simple 8 hour wedding day package starting at 3650.

All the extras are a la carte because each couple has different needs. My goal isn't to up-sell anyone. I like to keep it simple because I believe this is a relationship, not just a transaction!

a la carte items include:
- Engagement Session
- Extra Hours
- Videographer
- Second Photographer

I also offer a 3 hour elopement package, and a wedding weekend package. These are great options for couples on opposite ends of the spectrum. Some don't need the full 8 hours if they're eloping. Some want their entire wedding weekend documented!

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

Yes, I sure am!

I also have the option to book one of my associates that will photograph weddings on behalf of me. They are available to shoot on dates where I’m booked elsewhere. The final images will have the look and feel of what you see in my portfolio. My associates shoot the wedding and I still edit and deliver the final images. This option comes with a 10% discount!

It will be abundantly clear whether the client is booking me (TJ) or an associate. :)

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

Actually, about half of my weddings and shoots are outside of KC, so no place is out of the question. It’s actually becoming more and more normal to fly in your photographer. For a lot of my lovely clients, travel costs are just built into their photo budget.

I price out a flat fee specific to your location and add it to your package total. I know couples have a lot on their plate with wedding planning, so I always book all of my own travel. This travel fee usually comes out to roughly ~$600. This can fluctuate a bit based on location and time of year, but 600 tends to be a good running average.

8. Are albums or prints included in your packages?

They're not, but my online galleries are delivered with a link to a shop where you can download, share, and order albums/prints. Super easy and straight forward. You can also order prints somewhere else, but of course I always love it when clients print through me!

Again, I don't want to up-sell anyone. Just want each couple to be able to decide what they do and don't want to buy. :)

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

Why, as lightning fast as I can get 'em to them! Usually about 8-12 weeks after the wedding during peak season. Depending on the season I’m in at the time it could be as fast as 3 or 4 weeks! I also send some sneak peeks soon after the wedding, cause I know clients wanna post those gorgeous pics on the 'gram!

Again, couples will receive images via email with a link to a beautiful online gallery where you can download, share, and order prints. Easy-peasy.

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

If you’ve already put a deposit down on a date and then have to move/cancel it, the deposit is non-refundable and a new deposit will have to be made in order to hold your new date. The reason for this is so that your date is specifically held for you and no one else. After all, you wouldn’t want me to run off and shoot someone else’s wedding on your date!

(Note: if you have any vendors with super flexible cancellation policies, be careful! This generally means that if you don't have to fully commit to them, they don't have to fully commit to you.)

Gallery

Awards

WeddingRule Editor’s Choice 2020WeddingRule Editor’s Choice 2021