Frequently Asked Questions

How did you get started in wedding photography?

Early adventurist meets wedding photography. I started planning a summit bid for Mt. Everest in the early part of 2000. I made a check-list of what I needed to purchase, while training and climbing tall high altitude mountains. I’d taken many classes, trained in crevasse rescue, wilderness survival skills, and trained with fellow mountaineers who tackled the Everest summit without oxygen. I took up photography seriously as a hobby in order to capture the sheer awesomeness and power of the mountain I would be climbing. I wanted to capture the intimidating Epic radness of what I viewed since I would have a little time at the summit.

A friend of mine was photographing weddings at the time. I thought wedding photographers were mostly women who told the bridesmaids to turn around and blow kisses, which I hated. As I tagged along with my friend for a few weddings, I decided wedding photography wasn’t actually bad. Quite the opposite, it was a genius creative outlet waiting to be explored. Little did I know what would happen as a result.

I said yes to some of my friends weddings in 2009, and from there, friends told friends who told friends. Suddenly, I’m getting booked up, being voted best photographer in Sacramento, and traveling across the nation to photograph forty weddings.

And now fast-forward to 2017, when I photographed the Mt. Everest base camp wedding (for the 2nd attempt with a couple) which went viral internationally, crashing my website, appearing on global talk shows, news networks, and trending across the world. That spurred a TEDx Talk at California State University of Sacamento, as well as speaking engagements at photography conventions and seminars for Nikon and Profoto. Reality shows have contacted me to appear on their show. Additionally, I have won multiple awards and have been included on many front cover bridal and photography magazines. I have spoken at conferences, universities, workshops, on top of traveling for weddings and adventure elopements. I thank God for giving me gifts and allowing me to shine. That’s kind of how I got started.

What is your return time on the delivery of images?

Plan for 6-8 weeks for delivery of images. I shoot upwards of 40-50 weddings and elopements in a year plus engagement shoots, adventure shoots, and other requests, while also traveling, with a family and three daughters to raise. While I may deliver in 3-4 weeks for smaller weddings or engagement sessions, expect 6-8 weeks for most of the year between April and December.

What if something happens to you and you can’t photograph my wedding?

I am well connected to many great photographers in the photographic industry, locally and nationally, who would come to my aid if something were to happen, just as I would on their behalf. My wife has a list of photographers to call just in case something were to happen. Even if I were in an accident or I became horribly sick, I’m pretty pain tolerant. I would probably show up with a broken leg. If I die before your wedding, chances are slim, but hopefully you’ll have compassion on me, and of course my family.

How long do I have to download the images?

Certainly, you are given three months to download your images once they are made available online. I will have the images up to a year, but you are responsible for downloading and backing up your images.

Do we get the full sized digital files to print?

Yes, every couple receives full-sized JPEG files to print without any watermarks via download.

Were you the photographer behind that Mt. Everest base camp wedding that went viral?

Yup, that was me. Read the whole story on the blog post HERE.

Describe your style

Natural, elegant, stylish, bold, adventurous, candid, documentary, and Epic for those images on Mt. Everest, on top of Yosemite’s cliffs, or in the blizzard freezing ice caves of Alaska.

Do we have rights to our Digital images?

Yes, you have the right to personally print your images wherever you want, even though I provide a great lab for printing and great rates. However, as is standard in the wedding photography industry, you don’t have the right to sell the images for profit or to publish your images anywhere without direct consent of Charleton Churchill Photography.

Do you carry insurance?

Yes, absolutely I carry insurance. I don’t mess around with weddings. I’ve heard too many bad stories. For me, if a photographer doesn’t carry insurance, they do not value their business nor the couples they photograph. I can provide a certificate of insurance if your venue requests one.

Do you edit the photos?

Every photographer has a different version of editing and processing images. I prefer to get it right in camera, but yes, I make sure to process every image you receive according to my style. I make sure exposure and color look good in my images. Not only that, but also the skin tones, adjusting contrast, sharpening, cropping, highlight, shadows, etc. as well as other corrections and some blemishes up close to the camera. If you want  “Advanced Photoshop treatment”, which is typically anything that requires more time, then a fee is charged dependent on the size of the request, and I send those out to a professional editor for a fee. Advanced photoshop examples are removing people or objects from an image, changing the size of body parts, whitening teeth, full skin makeovers, fixing hair, outfit malfunctions and repairs, fixing tan lines, and much more requests. My standard processing of images look good from delivery and you can request to see a full wedding gallery before booking. Additionally, if you want to know how a wedding photographer edits or processes a full wedding (which they deliver to a client), request to see the full gallery of images from a recent wedding, not just select images from a blog.

Do you send us all the images you shoot from our wedding?

Certainly not, and I wouldn’t want all my unflattering photos sent to me either. I photograph throughout your whole wedding day, and you don’t need the testing images, light setup images, out of focused images, one eye opened and the other half closed, duplicate images, the awkward horse face laugh, you get the point.

How many images do you deliver typically for a wedding or elopement?

Ultimately, it all depends on how many hours you select in your wedding package, if we have to travel from place to place, hike somewhere, or if the bride or groom arrives two hours late (happened before), taking too long to prep, touch-up, etc. Furthermore, if you have a large wedding or a small intimate wedding, or even an elopement in the woods, that changes everything. If there is hiking on trails, driving to other locations, a midday break, lines at a popular scenic location, parking problems, weather changes, safety preparation, road construction, etc. all of it can alter the number of images. So, I can never give a solid number. You can probably expect an estimated 50 images per hour at the minimum for most jobs; sometimes it’s 100 images per hour at the higher rate. Sometimes we’re on a trip for 2-3 days, and it’s maybe 400-600 images for the 3 days because of traveling and hiking.

What are your rates for weddings and Elopements?

My rates for weddings and elopements vary on locations and how many days or hours coverage. You may request my wedding rates and I will gladly send them. Currently, my rates begin at $4500 for wedding and elopement coverage, or $2500 Lake Tahoe elopement coverage. Engagement sessions, proposals, and portrait sessions start at $1250 near my area. The prices range from those numbers up to $14,000 for extensive photography.

Do you backup your images?

Yes, I’m serious about backing up my weddings redundantly. I have repetitive backups, raid drives, online backup systems, and other systems where your wedding will be secure. After downloading your images, I encourage you to make multiple backups on and off site. Your images will be available up to one year after your wedding.

Do you photograph getting ready photos, family portraits and reception photos?

Yes, most weddings I photograph couples getting ready if you want that in your timeline, plus reception photos with speeches, cake cutting, etc.. Most noteworthy, with Family Portraits, you will need to make a list of who you want photographed during that time. Please include your parents in that decision so we get them all. In contrast, family portraits after the ceremony can be an “energy and time sucker” trying to stand and smile the whole time. So please design your list to be necessary and efficient.

How do we go about booking you?

Look over my wedding or elopement packages and choose a package. Then return the signed agreement with a 35% non-refundable retainer (or minimum of $2000, whichever is greater), paid preferably by check, Zelle, or Venmo. If you need to pay by credit card, no problem, I can send you an invoice to pay online with a 2.5% rate (and average of $200 extra). No Dates can be reserved or booked until both the agreement and retainer are received.

Can we meet with you or do you prefer zoom?

Most of my meetings happen on Zoom or Facetime since my couples live around the world; however, if you are in the area, I would love to meet with you. Just let me know.

Can you carry a list of Pinterest wedding Photos we want you to shoot?

Certainly, I don’t mind photographing a few images at your request, and giving me a heads up on people or moments that I may not understand. For example, a grandpa who is passing soon of cancer and needs some close photos with the bride dancing. Those are great images, and I love hearing what is important to the family. I also request a family list for the family formals time just after the ceremony for a weddings.

However, for wedding events, I do not carry posed Pinterest photo lists from couples to check off for the whole day. Honestly, it keeps my eyes focused on a check-list, rather than being present, aware, and creative of my surroundings. My job for most of the wedding day is to capture and anticipate real moments, raw emotions, candids, and tell your story creatively. Couples who book me usually trust me, as they hired me for my distinct style, something different and fresh from others.

Elopements are different than weddings, so It’s much easier plan shots and ideas together without the restrictions of a wedding day timeline, family interactions, speeches, cake cutting, etc.

When do we schedule our Adventure session or Engagement session?

Certainly, you can schedule any time of the year, within a week of your wedding or as most do, a year before your wedding. Adventure and engagement sessions are booked during the weekday only. Monday through Friday only. There is no travel charge if your session is local here in Sutter Creek, CA. If you would like me to travel for your session, which I do, the cost is $100 per hour of travel. If you desire something out of state or country, talk with me about a custom quote.

How do I prepare and make the best of my wedding photos?

Book me and I’ll give you some of my secrets. I will say there’s way more involved in making a good photograph than having an expensive camera. Many couples tell me they are not photogenic, and don’t know how to pose or act around the camera, but then they end up featured in a magazine or on a front cover. I’ll take care of you.

How long does it take to receive my wedding album?

When you choose your favorites for the album and then officially “approve” the album design, color, and material used, it only takes 2-3 weeks maximum to arrive at your home.

How many hours do I need to book you for my wedding or elopement?

It all depends on what interests you, and I can help you make a decision on what’s best for you.

For weddings, typically 7-10 hours is a good range. The more hours you have me, the more time I can play and be creative. Many times, I photograph destination weddings  and just focus on the wedding event, with the couples booking a 2nd day option for an adventure in their wedding attire. That could be the day before or the day after the wedding.

For elopements or adventure styled couples sessions, 4 hours is typically the minimum up to multiple day adventure elopements, like our Mt. Everest elopement which took 10 days to hike to Mount Everest Base Camp. However, most elopements are between 4hours to 2 days. The one day package is very popular.

Do you book destination weddings and elopements?

Yes. During covid the last few years, I declined all international wedding requests, but I have recently changed that with the world opening up.  I am booking most destination weddings within the USA, which includes Alaska and Hawaii, but will consider international now.

Will you post our wedding or elopement on your instagram or social media?

My social media, mostly instagram, is used mostly for marketing purposes and what I prefer to post personally and artistically. While I do share some of the whole events I capture on my blog or social media, there are many events I don’t post online. I rarely have time to blog anymore.

Kaitlin and Evan from Lake Tahoe Wedding

Charleton absolutely blew us away with his incredible eye and ability to capture our moments! He did an absolutely incredible job not only on the wedding day but in making our engagement shoot special and a ton of fun. He was a pleasure to work with in the fun up, always understanding of the pressure we had from all the various vendors and by far among the easiest to work with. He's an awesome guy to boot! Highly recommend, you can trust him with such an important job.

Chelsie and Josh from Big Sur Elopement in California

My husband and I had the honor of having Mr. Churchill be our adventure wedding photographer. Our experience with Mr Churchill was complete bliss from the beginning. He was always quick to respond to all emails and communications. He made us feel completely comfortable, and was able to capture our wedding day in the most magical way, that went above and beyond our expectation. The level of expertise and vision Mr. Churchill provides is out of this world. We were honored to have him be apart of our special day.

Kaitlin and Evan from Lake Tahoe Wedding

Charleton is absolutely amazing! He has a great eye for bringing out the surrounding natural beauty in every single setting. His shots are unique and overwhelmingly beautiful. Charleton shot for my husband's sister's wedding and immediately after seeing her pictures we decided to book him for both our engagement shoot and wedding. He was actually the first vendor we booked for our wedding, having him be a part of our big day was that much of a priority for us. His work speaks for itself, but what the pictures don't show is the amount of great energy and love Charleton also brings to the shoot/big day. He makes you feel like a rockstar and pushes the envelope for location and approach of each picture. Couldn't recommend him enough, every minute you receive from Charleton is professional, genuine and of the utmost quality.

Named Among the Top 100 Wedding Photographers in the United States and Canada

Rangefinder RF magazine featuring Charleton Churchill
martha stewart weddings top photographer charleton churchill


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