Engagement, Trash The Dress
Michael was the first vendor we selected after having picked our venue, and it really set the tone for our entire wedding planning experience. We first met him over Skype, since I was in Eastern Canada and Michael is located in the South Bay. He was so friendly and ready to answer all our questions, and more impressively, he knew exactly how to lead the conversation. We didn’t necessarily know all the things we should ask, but he made us feel like he knew exactly what he was doing and was an expert, without a hint of arrogance. Most importantly, he just seemed really enthusiastic about finding out who we were and how he could make our special day as fantastic as possible! Michael was also extremely quick to answer all our emails, and always had plenty of advice and suggestions for vendors if we needed any. We ended up finding our wedding planner and makeup artist/hair stylist through him! We met him in person for the first time during our engagement shoot. Both my husband and I felt nervous, because we don’t feel very photogenic, but Michael struck the perfect balance between letting us feel natural and at ease, but also giving us clear instructions to get the best possible results. On our wedding day, his wife came along as his second shooter. Once again, they both were completely in control of the situation and got all the important shots without getting in the way of the festivities at all. All our guests absolutely loved their energy! Michael’s turnaround time to deliver final pictures is simply astounding; he clearly absolutely loves his job and can’t wait for you to get all your wedding pictures. If you’re looking for an amazing wedding photographer and an all-around truly amazing man, hire Michael James Photography, we are so incredibly glad we did!!!
The one thing I was not willing to compromise on for my wedding was the photographer. The flowers? Sure. Colors? Yeah why not? Photographer? NOPE. I found Michael James Photography through my venue as they had worked with Michael before and had nothing but good things to say about him and his wife Jehn. Looking over their portfolio, I knew these were the people I wanted to capture my wedding. Michael has been nothing but helpful and friendly since I first emailed him asking if he was available for our wedding date. He responded almost immediately even though he was on vacation with his family. I was very impressed with how quickly he always responded to any and all questions I had (as a bride planning a California wedding from North Carolina, this was a HUGE help). Michael was not only helpful with general wedding photography questions, but also questions I had about Saratoga, where to stay, what a timeline should be like, etc. I really cannot stress how helpful and encouraging it was to have a photographer so on top of everything so I didn't have to stress out about one more detail. Michael and Jehn were an absolute joy to work with. They helped us orchestrate a "first look" session before the ceremony, and always kept things calm and cheerful. You can tell they love their jobs by both their interactions with the wedding guests, as well as their photographs. The turn around time for your photos is EXTREMELY QUICK. I've had people tell me it took months for them to get their pictures back where I got mine back in less than 2 weeks, and they look amazing. Going through our gallery was like reliving that night all over again and was everything I had hoped for. Short version: Michael and Jehn are amazing at what they do. If you want someone to capture the joy and love of your event, contact them. You will not regret it.
I don't even know where to start. Hiring Michael was one of the first things we did after finding a venue and the absolute best decision that we made. I found Michael through a co-worker, he had photographed her sister's wedding and my coworker basically insisted that I call him immediately once we had a date since he books up pretty far in advance. During our initial meeting with him we looked at some of his stunning photos but pretty quickly started chatting about other things. Hours later we knew we had found our photographer, even though he would not take a deposit check that day. He actually insisted that we go home, look at his packages and discuss before getting back to him. Seriously this guy is the best. In January we did our engagement shoot with him. I should preface this by saying that neither me nor my husband are super comfortable in front of a camera but we had the best time! We laughed the whole time and the photos were stunning. STUNNING! People I barely know stopped me at the gym after seeing the photos on Facebook to ask who our photographer was. As we got closer to the wedding Michael reached out repeatedly to us to make sure we were doing ok and to help in anyway he could. He was always quick to respond to any emails whether it be timeline questions, vendor referrals or just basic sanity checks. He worked with our day of coordinator and the timeline that they put together was perfect. It allowed us to get all of the photos we wanted but not feel rushed. On our wedding day Michael and his adorable wife Jehn rocked. The best part for us was that it didn't feel like they were photographing us, it felt like they were just two more friends at our wedding with fancy cameras. I had multiple guests comment during the wedding about what great photographers we had and that was before even seeing the photos! And the photos, oh man, I can't even begin to tell you how amazing they are. First of all Michael sent us the online gallery of 900+ photos on the Tuesday after our Saturday wedding. Tuesday! We cried our way through them saying over and over again, that's my favorite, no that's my favorite. They captured everything, our personalities, the feeling of our wedding, all the decor we had spent countless hours crafting and most importantly our friends and family who came to celebrate with us. After seeing the photos I had two different friends tell me that they want to get married again just so they could hire our photographer. How lucky are we? Michael is the real deal. He is a great guy and an amazing artist. You absolutely will not regret hiring him.
I felt so lost and overwhelmed when I began my search for a wedding photographer. I knew this would be the most important vendor that we booked, and I was taking it very seriously. I found Michael’s webpage early on, and I knew immediately that he would be shooting our wedding. Our initial email exchanges only confirmed my gut feeling. We met with a couple other photographers to check “due diligence” off of our list, but as we walked away from the meetings we said, “Ok, it’s obviously Michael.” Michael is *truly* one of the nicest and most genuine people I’ve ever met. And he truly and genuinely LOVES his job, which is very evident in the quality of his work. He has been the easiest (and our favorite) vendor we worked with, and he over delivered in every way possible. He is incredibly responsive and EXTREMELY timely (discussed below), professional yet very personable. Michael was totally game for our suggestion for an engagement session out of town at Disneyland. The three of us had a blast running around the park together, and the photos were perfection. Our wedding was on a Saturday earlier this May, and he delivered our full online gallery the following Tuesday…!!! Family members, bridal party members and guests were commenting throughout the wedding day how great Michael was. And that was even before seeing the images! And the compliments of course keep rolling in now that we’ve shared the photos with our friends and family! They are absolutely stunning. Michael and Jehn captured so much of the day so perfectly. The scenery, the emotions, the details… they got it all. We can’t stop scrolling through the images, and sharing our favorites with each other, and finding ourselves smiling as the photos bring back the feelings of joy and love we felt that day. I'm a pretty critical person, and a perfectionist, and I usually find *something* constructive to say about everything. Except in this case. I only have positive things to say about Michael and Jehn - they are both great to work with. Don’t wait a single minute, email them this instant! You will be so happy you did.
MJP is AMAZINGReviewed on 11/11/2014 Emily S
The amazing pictures are obvious, but what is not so obvious is how professional and reliable Michael is behind the scenes. Planning a wedding is one of the most stressful times of my life but every time we had to interact with Mike, life was a little easier. We love the pictures and we loved the service and most of all we loved Michael. Great job my friend!
Michael James PhotographyReviewed on 10/16/2014
Choosing Michael James as a photographer for our engagement photos and wedding photos was one of the best decisions we've ever made!! Not only did he make us feel so comfortable and bring out the best side of us in all of our pictures, he was very reliable, professional, and extremely timely. We absolutely love all of our pictures and couldn't believe how fast he got them back to us. He gave us back some proofs the day after both of our shoots and all of the rest of the photos were just a couple days after! We highly highly highly recommend him and his company!!
Thinking outside the boxReviewed on 10/16/2014 Gwennifer M
I first saw Mike when he was photographing a friend's wedding, I got to see how he worked and honestly he was everywhere but never in the way! He got them a couple of their pics within a day or so and then the rest two days after that. I was blown away at his speed and quality! From the first moment Gwenn and I sat and talked to him, we knew he was our kinda people. He was very humble and down-to-earth and very honest! He showed us examples and even the thumbdrive & box our images would come in, it was fantastic. Day of, I told Mike I wanted him to think outside the box, really get out of his comfort zone and we couldn't be happier with the results! Heck, we even got featured on Rock n Roll Bride because of his pictures! He embraced our nerdiness, from the light saber battle, to the sword arch, he got all the shots...even when we were running out of time. His wife Jehn went to the salon with Gwenn and got some amazing shots. All in all, he took well over 1,000 shots. We were on our honeymoon when I got an email with a link to all of our finished pictures, 4 days after the wedding!! (he put some teasers up the day after the wedding as well) We were floored at how amazing they looked. In the end, Mike has a great eye and gets the shots that don't need to be photoshoped to high hell and he's professional as hell! We loved his "eye" so much, we're going to use him as our professional product photographer for Gwenn's custom costume business!
Mike Buchanan of Michael James Photography is the absolute best!Reviewed on 10/14/2014 Sarina C
My wife Sarina and I are photographers, so finding the right wedding photographer was especially important to us. We miraculously stumbled across Michael James Photography through a Google search, and as soon as we met with Mike, we knew that we absolutely had to work with him for our February 2014 wedding (we've tried to recreate the search, but we couldn't — it must have been fate!). And you know what? We don’t regret it at all: he was hands-down the best choice we made throughout our wedding planning! First and foremost, Mike has an amazing eye for beautiful photos. He was able to listen to our photographic needs and wants, put his creative twist on it, and deliver absolutely amazing photos that my wife and I will cherish forever. And he does this all with a big smile and overall fantastic client experience. Throughout all communication, he was quick to respond, always thorough, and very knowledgeable about photography and the wedding industry. Most importantly, it is so apparent that Mike cares about his work and his clients. A LOT. This particular aspect of his service is difficult to quantify and qualify, but once you work with him, you will definitely sense it yourself. He loves what he does, and it shows. It was apparent when we first met him, and this is what solidified our decision to book him and to trust his process, his work, and Mike himself. We would definitely recommend Mike for any of your lifestyle photography needs -- especially weddings! He is AMAZING!
We fell in LOVE with his vision.Reviewed on 10/06/2014 Kristin E
We initially reached out to Michael because he was referred to us by not one, but TWO fellow photographers for our Wedding Day. We had not heard of Michael James Photography, but based on his website and blog, we fell in love with his vision and beautiful images. From our first conversation, we knew Michael was going to be fantastic to work with. He is AWESOME at communicating (a trait you'll find is rare in the Wedding Industry), he took the time to get to know us as individuals and a couple, how we wanted the day to flow, and to make sure he was truly able to provide us with what we were looking for. After just an initial phone conversation, we truly felt as though he would reflect what we wanted to capture on our special day. Michael was the first vendor we booked after we secured our venue, because we didn't want to loose him!! When we met Michael in person for our Engagement photos, my (now) husband had a total man-crush. Michael is super cool, artistic, and such a genuine family man. You can tell how much he values and loves his sweet family. We went home that evening and had images to share from our shoot within HOURS!! He promised us a few days turn around, but he is lightening fast and ...as we found out...OVER DELIVERS! The images were beautiful. We were thrilled! As the months passed, he continued to check in - making sure that all was set for the big weekend. And even had us create a "shot list" to assure he was capturing all of the special moments we didn't want to miss. When our Rehearsal Dinner evening was upon us, Michael showed up just to check out the venue. We had not hired him for that evening, but he wanted to familiarize himself with the Venue Grounds (!!!!) for the next day. And while he was there he took a couple of incredible shots of us at sunset during our Rehearsal Dinner. Just because he's AWESOME like that!!! Honestly, I can not say enough about our Wedding photos; they are beyond beautiful. I have had so many guests, friends and family tell me how incredible my photographer was. Our images could truly be in a bridal magazine. He captured such beauty in each photo, such special moments that we shared with each other and our guests.....that will forever live in these photos we have. He also delivered our wedding photos within two days! I can not say enough about Michael James and his photographs. He captured our special day in a way that is beyond words. Simply perfection.
Easiest wedding vendor decision we made!Reviewed on 10/06/2014 lindsay g
Michael James Photography was recommended to us by a friend and from the moment we made our initial enquiry we wanted them to capture our wedding at Mt Diablo. Planning a wedding from overseas has it's challenges but when we had our first Skype with Michael we were immediately put at ease and knew we were in good hands. He was a pleasure to deal with, his positivity infectious and made us feel like family straight away. Throughout the lead up to the wedding he took the time to get to know both of us as Bride and Groom, really listened to not only what we did and didn't want for our wedding photography but to what we wanted from our wedding day overall and was more than happy to work around that, going above and beyond on many occasions. Michael and his wife Jehn captured the day together, working seamlessly with each other and with our other vendors and coordinating our family with ease. Michael James Photography are undoubtedly technically amazing but it is all the other factors about Michael and Jehn as people that made them such a big part of our day and our memories of it. Thank you once again!!
Beautiful photographyReviewed on 10/04/2014
We picked Mike as our wedding photographer at Nestldown and we couldn't have made a better decision. He is a professional and talented photographer. All of the photos turned out AMAZING and he delivered them in less than a week! His wife Jehn, who is also an awesome photographer, assisted him on the day. They were both comfortable and fun to be around with, which is very important on your wedding day. That said, Mike provides enough direction that you don't need to worry if you are not a poser. I highly recommend Mike and Jehn!
Venice & Mark's Wedding - Half Moon Bay, CAReviewed on 10/03/2014 Venice L
Michael and his assistant, Matt, shot our wedding in Half Moon Bay, CA at the Oceano Hotel this past Saturday, and my husband and I truly had a blast working with them. Michael’s easy-going disposition made him so easy to work with. He listened to what we wanted in our pictures and spiked it with his own flair. Most importantly, he made two very camera-shy people feel completely at ease. With his knack for timing and organization, he managed to chronicle our special day through the perspective of the bride (me), groom, and the wedding guests. Not to mention, we just had our wedding on Saturday and received all of our digital photos 3 days later. The man works insanely fast! To say that Michael is an incredible photographer would be an understatement. He has the perfect blend of organization, professionalism and cordiality. Michael has my complete confidence and I’d highly recommend him to any bride looking for someone to capture one of the most memorable days of their life.
I now want to have dinner with Michael JamesReviewed on 10/01/2014
To say that we were happy with Michael James Buchanan really doesn't do him any justice. He did an amazing job with our engagement photos, promotion on social media, and our wedding photos were spectacular. Michael's skill with the camera is one thing, but his personality and true care for us and our guest was what set him apart. He was easily our favorite vendor that we hired. We really wanted to work with people that we felt comfortable with and after our experience working with Michael, we will certainly cultivate a friendship with him and his family that goes far beyond anything to do with weddings. Let me also emphasize that his pictures were totally amazing, and captured all of the emotions of the day.
Absolutely AmazingReviewed on 9/29/2014 Cynthia L
My husband and I used Michael and Jehn for our wedding pictures in March 2014 and we could not of been any more pleased with how they worked and the end product of the pictures. They were absolutely amazing! They captured every moment perfectly, they knew exactly what they were doing and what moments to capture. Working with them was absolutely amazing. We would definitely work with them again! We will for ever be so grateful for the wonderful pictures and memories they have given us. Thank you so much!
Amazing !Reviewed on 9/25/2014 Dulce C
I always knew that finding the right photographer for my wedding was #1 on my todo list. When trying to book another photographer she got booked and referred me to Michael. Best thing to ever happen to me! I did two engagement sessions and my wedding with Michael and all I can say is WoW!! I have BEAUTIFUL pictures!. He made the sessions very comfortable with his friendly persobality and that just made the experience even better.
Best wedding planning decision EVER!Reviewed on 9/25/2014 Sarah K
Michael James Photography was referred to me by a friend. He was a friend of their family and had recently shot her sister's wedding, so I took a look at his blog. I was sold in a heartbeat. His work was exactly what I was looking for. I emailed him for more information and got a reply within the same day. He continued this throughout the whole planning process... emailing us just to check in, always returning our questions pretty much within an hour. His professionalism and genuine care for all his clients was clear from the start and something that you cannot put a price on. He shot our engagement pictures as well as our wedding and we couldn't be happier. We have had endless compliments from our guests about how he handled himself at the wedding and of course his unbelievable work. I am so happy we will have these pictures to look back on and pass long to generations to come. I cannot recommend him more. If you are looking for a photographer, your search ends here. Seriously, you will not be disappointed.
THE BEST!Reviewed on 9/24/2014 Liz K
Understandably, we will have these pictures for the rest of our lives, so we want them to be beautiful. Let me tell you, Michael's pictures are BEAUTIFUL and AMAZING and FANTASTIC, but that's not even the best part. When I first contacted Michael via a recommendation from my makeup gal, I was impressed. I was very honest about him not being the only photographer I was looking at knowing that there may be a bit of discomfort in that disclosure. Michael took it with a smile and told me that he expected nothing less and he PREFERRED that. From the get-go, his concern was my happiness and making sure that we were always on the same level. It wasn't about the money and it wasn't "JUST BUSINESS". It was PERSONAL. He understood that everyone has a different style and ideal and that his wasn't going to always fit everyone. I loved it. I'd say 30-40% of the reason why I chose Michael was because of his pictures. The other 60-70% is absolutely because of him as a person. He made me feel comfortable and EXCITED about my choice. His customer service was the benchmark I set all other photographers up against. He won by a landslide. Not that anyone was rude or mean to me, it's just that Michael was kind and considerate on my level. Our engagement shoot was hilarious. My discomfort comes out in bursts of laughter and joking, but somehow Michael captured everything in a way that seemed so natural. Like even my reaction to discomfort was natural. It was hard not to relax fast and really get into the groove of things. I could write an ESSAY on how wonderful our wedding pictures are, but I won't. Understand that I printed EVERY SINGLE PICTURE Michael took and put it in an album (it's a really huge album). As I mentioned, the pictures aren't half of it. My wedding coordinator was less than helpful and Michael really stepped up and helped me coordinate things while I was hiding out. Our schedule was stupid tight and we still managed to get the most beautiful pictures! I just can't. I love them. I recommend Michael AND his other photographer, Matthew, with the highest praise. You won't be disappointed.
UniqueReviewed on 9/23/2014 callie j
Michael shot our wedding and engagement. Both sessions were relaxed and professional. At some of the weddings we attended this year we saw photographers that were bossy, rude, and out of line. You'll get none of that with Michael and his wife Jehn. They go out of their way to make sure your happy and that nothing goes wrong. When we got our photos back we couldn't of been any happier. They are the best!
Best Wedding Photographer!Reviewed on 9/23/2014 Jamie C
Both my husband and I absolutely loved Michael the moment we met him. From the beginning, his responses were always prompt and accommodating. In addition to shooting awesome photos for both our engagement shoot and our wedding pics, he had great suggestions to help us streamline the process. We also had the absolute pleasure of having his wife, Jehn assist at our wedding, she too ways lovely. I couldn't recommend Michael's services more highly. He is clearly excited and passionate about his work and it shows in everything from the small details to the overall experience.
We made a GREAT Vendor Choice!Reviewed on 9/23/2014 Lindsay W
So thrilled to review Michael James photography... Choosing Michael as our wedding photographer was one of the best choices ever. His wife and him were our photographers for the day and everyone in our bridal party loved how polite, friendly, creative and on the ball they were with everything. The photographs turned out amazing and we had them all in our hands only 3 days after the wedding. You really can't beat that turn around time. I love Michael's eye for catching great natural light moments and his candid shots of our guests having a great time are something we will treasure always. They were such a great addition to our day.
So good it's intimidatingReviewed on 2/25/2014 Micaiah v
Actual conversation with a brilliant photographer I collaborate with at my place of employment (but could not shoot my wedding), about two months ago. Him "so I head Michael James is shooting your wedding" Me "oh yeah, we met him last week and hired him" Him "nice, wait, did I refer him to you?" Me "no, heard about him from an old coworker, why?" Him "oh... he's like.... really good. It's kind of intimidating how good he is" Me "wow.... really?" Michael James is so super good it is almost super hero like. Got a future brother in-law that won't smile? BAMO! He can take care of that. Mom won't ever take off her prescription sunglasses? KA-POW! Mike's got a move for that too. Do you have a so many in-laws who are demanding a group photo they could fill an entire Cheese Cake Factory? Mike's got the moves for that too. Despite all the chaos you can throw at him, he is still looking out for you, the happy couple, the couple that won't ever dress or look better than on that special day, he will STILL get the WOW shot you will have for years to come on your mantle. Also he is really nice.
Personal, Professional, and CaringReviewed on 12/03/2013
Michael is a craftsman and truly cared about capturing our wedding in the best way possible. He is communicative, clear, and professional. He is honest about making sure we were a good fit so that he could effectively photograph our wedding. I am very happy with our wedding photographs and highly recommend Michael James Photography.
Absolutely the BestReviewed on 11/14/2013 Nadine T
From the minute we met Michael on our initial consultation we were pretty set to have him shoot the photos of our wedding day. His passion and exuberance for the art of photography and his exceptional portfolio were only part of what won us over. What really clinched it for us was his fun and easy-going personality, full of sincerity and warmth. We left our meeting feeling like we really wanted to be friends with Michael and just hang out! For the wedding day itself, Michael showed the utmost of professionalism and went above and beyond our expectations, showing up early and staying late to capture all the moments we had discussed. And what moments he captured! We're absolutely thrilled with the photos he and his assistant took, and have had our family and friends gush over how spectacular they are. His skills with handling light, composition, portraiture, and candids are simply top notch. In the end, Michael's true gift is capturing the story of the day and we will treasure his art for a lifetime!
A picture says a million words..Reviewed on 10/08/2013
I was scrambling to find a photographer for our wedding that was coming up in less than two months. I was referred to Michael by a good friend from college and as soon as I spoke with him over the phone I was sold. He is one of the friendliest people I have ever met and that alone was enough to solidify my decision to have him shoot our wedding. Everything from planning to payment went so smooth, and Michael was so accommodating that it relieved a lot of our worries. And then came the big day. Michael and his team were there on time and we were able to get all the pre-party pictures taken care of in a very efficient manner. Being from Egypt and my wife being from Afghanistan we had a lot of cultural elements that we wanted to incorporate and capture so that we could have the memories for the rest of our lives. And Michael did just that! We waited only a few days until the first pictures came out and boy were we amazed. Michael and his team were able to capture all the intricate moments of our wedding with such finesse, I couldn't have asked for anything better. A few days after that we received the rest of our pictures and we couldn't stop looking at them! We were so excited to show our friends and family and everyone was taken back by how beautiful the pictures turned out. You cant put a price on perfection. We enjoyed working with Michael so much that one year later we decided to do an anniversary shoot with him in San Francisco. Although it was raining that day, at some points pouring, we were able to take some of the most amazing pictures I have ever seen in my life. My wife and I still talk about how fun that day was until today. I recommend Michael James photography to all of my friends and family and I look forward to working with him again in the future.
Stop looking for your wedding photographer - it doesn't get any better than Michael James Photography...Reviewed on 10/06/2013 Mihan R
Two years ago I saw my friend's wedding pictures and my first thought was: I WANT THIS PHOTOGRAPHER, I WANT WEDDING PICTURES LIKE THIS!!!!! 2 years later when I started planning my own wedding in California, Michael was the first vendor I booked (I don't even like to call him that anymore because he's like extended family now), I booked him even before Even booking the venue! When we actually met Michael for the first time for our engagement shooting we were blown away by his professionalism, his warm personality and his incredible creativity!!!!! Having Michael and his lovely wife Jehn at our wedding was a blessing!!!! They were amazing, everything was beyond our expectations and imagination! Our guests were so impressed by their professionalism and their friendliness and politeness towards them! We couldn't have asked for better photographers than Michael and Jehn!!!!!! We will never forget them because they captured the happiest day of our life and they made us feel very special and comfortable (which is soooo important on such a stressful day!!!!!). Michael, you're the BEST! ;)