FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS 

What is your background(s)?

Tom has been working for the Air Force as an engineer and program manager for the past 17 years. Photographing family, friends and events has been his passion for many years.  I have dedicated myelf to raising our 3 kids (one girl and two boys) after teaching elementary school for a few years.  I've has always had a love for card-making and love all the little details that bring it together. Our yearly homemade Christmas cards still keep us extremely busy every December! Photography has been a great offshoot to continue with my creative talents.   

We are both blessed to have been raised among parents and grandparents exploring their creative passions - music, painting, watercolor, wood working, quilting, and calligraphy just to name a few.  Tom still remembers helping his dad carefully photograph the splash from an ice cube dropping in milk to this day.  Tom's dad is now the co-founder of Front Porch Ideas and More with Tom's mom.  Tom is also proud to follow in the footsteps of his Grandpa Smith who attended photography school in New York City in the 1940's.  Today, Tom and I are super excited to work together as a photography duo capturing and delivering beautiful images.  Tom is the primary photographer.  I get to wear three hats as the second "shooter," creative director, and post production lead.  We are truly blessed to work together in our new venture!  

How do we start working together?

Please contact us to get started. If possible, we'd like to meet with you in person, get to know each other, and talk about your specific needs.  If you choose us as your photographer, you will receive an email with a link to an agreement to sign. After that, we will start making specific plans (dates, locations) and answer any questions you may have.  For weddings, we like to start working the planning as early as possible (at least 4 months). 

What is your photography style?

First and foremost, we like to have fun, connect with you and your guests, and enjoy the day!  We shoot with the goal of telling a story.  Some call this a photojournalist style, but we prefer to call it shooting the "things in between" (a reference to Ben Rector's song I Like You).  We always deliver for the big moments (first kiss, family shots etc) but pride ourselves in capturing those candid moments in the interim.  It's the spontaneous little moments that define the day.  

What is your editing style?

We strive to deliver images that are minimally edited yet striking and beautiful.  Clean, crisp and timeless is our goal.  

Do you work out of town?

Yes, but are currently serving the southern California area only.  Having said that, don't hesitate to contact us if you have a special request!

When will our pictures be ready?

We take our time to individually edit each image.  Weddings photos are typically ready in 4 weeks whereas portrait sessions are normally complete within two weeks.  Delivery time for events is variable depending on shooting duration.  

What equipment are you using?

We primarily shoot with the Nikon D750 DSLR, but are also integrating the mirrorless Sony A7ii  into our sessions for detail shots.  We use top-of-the-line lenses and shoot exclusively in RAW to maximize image quality.  Today, we are focusing on shooting stills but hope to incorporate video in the future. 

How can I use my photos after delivery?

You are free to print, send them to friends, post to social media (Facebook, Instagram etc), or anything else.  All of your images will be delivered without a watermark, but Painted Bench Photography retains the copyright on all photographs.  Photographic credit is required for any images posted online.