Matrix Digital Arts Photography: Blog en-us (C) Matrix Digital Arts Photography (Matrix Digital Arts Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:40:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:40:00 GMT Matrix Digital Arts Photography: Blog 120 93 Wedding Costs Zoom to $38,700! MDP_3063mdp-1MDP_3063mdp-1 I bet that got your attention!  Well, that's actually the national average, according to a recent study released by Business Insider.  The total costs also includes the engagement ring and the honeymoon!

WalletHub also released a report recently which rated the top 182 cities in the United States for getting married.  Now their factors included a number of important considerations besides actual dollar costs: number of quality vendors, venues, nearby activities and attractions.

With all of their factors, their list of 182 cities were listed.  Now first place, Orlando, Florida,  doesn't mean it's the cheapest, it actually rates 24th in costs.  But when all factors are taken into consideration, it's number one.  El Paso, Texas is number 3!

So where does San Antonio rank in the list of 182?  It's 31st!  Not bad!  But again, it's looking at attractions, venues, quality and number of wedding vendors, like florist, caterers, etc.  Oh, and let's not forget photographers.  San Antonio boasts 428 wedding photographers at last count.

Now let's take a look at typical costs of "must have" wedding items:

  • Venue - This will be the biggest cost.  Typical in our area:  $3,000 to $11,000.  Just to rent a facility for a few hours on a Saturday.  Hence why many couples are now choosing Fridays and Sundays as alternative days for getting married.  Most venues offer the same services on these "off days" for nearly 50% discount.  WeddingWire's 2019 Newlywed report reflects the average cost for a venue at $9,000.
  • Photography - Average cost is $2,400.  The actual budge cost is 10%, so photography should cost around $3000.  Now it's a shame to spend nearly $30,000 on a wedding, of which nothing is left over the next day except for the wedding dress and a few hangovers, lol.  So this should be a more important consideration.  After all, it's only your memories, and there is nothing better than something you can look at whenever, that helps to keep those memories alive!
  • Catering - National average is $6,700 but it's all dependent upon a number of things, especially the number of guests.  Best rule of thumb: Consider $30 per guest.  Of course, it also depends upon what you would like to feed them.  Be careful there and choose your caterer carefully. Go to bridal shows to sample the food at their booths.  Ask around with others recently married as to how satisfied were they with the quality of the food and the service.  As a wedding photographer, I can tell you many horror stories.  In one case, we refused to eat when invited because we saw the chicken sitting on the tables at room temperature for hours.  At one wedding we covered, they had pizza delivered!  Best choice!

We could go on and on here, but I think you get the point.  Getting married is expensive, and many couples go into debt for years just to pay for it.  Choose your vendors carefully.  Check their BBB rating, ask for references, etc.  Happy spending!

(Matrix Digital Arts Photography) Cost of Getting Married Fri, 14 Feb 2020 23:14:32 GMT
The Other Shoe Dropped! Don't know if you have been keeping up with the latest venue news, but the Noah's Event Center in San Antonio has abruptly closed as of 2/9/20.

Now this was no surprise to me, because I was aware the parent company of Noah's had filed for bankruptcy last year, and started to close many of their locations.

Over the past year, I had actually receive many wedding leads from various sources from brides that needed photography, and were having their reception hosted at Noah's.  When I reached out to them, I strongly urged them to find another location for their wedding.  There was no guarantee that their chosen venue would even be available.

This is very sad news for the wedding industry.  Many venues across the United States have closed over the past 12 months.  This is unfortunate for the bride and groom, especially if the closing is a few days or a couple weeks from their special day.

This only reinforces the guidance I have provided in previous posts:  Get Wedding Insurance!  Having the protection may not guarantee the availability of your venue, but it will reimburse you for the thousands of dollars you have lost in the process.

(Matrix Digital Arts Photography) noah's event center wedding insurance Mon, 10 Feb 2020 21:54:55 GMT
Customer Service Just thoughts I wanted to jot down after reading a couple recent reviews we received.

I noticed phrases like, "caring about us" or "willing to go above and beyond for us."  How about "loved that they were very responsive! Whenever I had a question or any kind of statement to relay to them, I got a reply right away! I never had to wait."

To me, this just seems like plain common sense!  It's the way a customer should be treated.  What it boils down to is that the Bride-to-Be is already stressed out planning for the most important day of her life.  There should be someone that she can lean on, get straight answers, recommendations, or unbiased opinions.  For many, it's their first time in front of a professional photographer. 

What's been lacking in the photography business, and many other businesses for that matter, is a true genuine concern and appreciation for the customer.  Oh sure, there are some people out there that no matter what you do, it's not enough.  But I believe we have been blessed in the 18 years we have been in business, to have genuine appreciative customers.  For us, it's just natural to keep in touch, provide guidance and suggestions, be available to answer questions.  It's not at all uncommon for me to be sitting in front of the television at night, watching a good game, and getting a text message from a client with a question.  Yes, they get answered right away, and sometimes the conversation goes on for several minutes.  It may require me going to my studio computer and looking up something to answer the questions.  But isn't that the way it's suppose to be?

It's important to us, that our customers are totally satisfied.  We make sure that everything is covered up front in that initial consultation, and there are no hidden costs, fees, or surprises. Our culture at Matrix Digital Arts Photography is that our customers are clients, are now part of our family.  Hopefully through the years, we are relied upon for future shoot engagements, like maternity, kids, It's a relationship, an understanding.  It's the photographer's ability and skill to know his or her clients well enough to capture them in their naturalness.

Going that extra mile, above and simply our way of conducting business!

Michael Holeda

Executive Director & Professional Photographer

(Matrix Digital Arts Photography) Customer Service photographers Thu, 10 Jan 2019 21:40:50 GMT
So You Are Now Engaged! What Will Your Wedding Cost? During the holidays, it's a common time for engagements.  After the excitement, one begins to plan their wedding day, and probably blind to what a typical wedding costs. I have found that most brides-to-be are shocked, along with their fathers who sometimes pay a large portion of the costs, at what a wedding day entails, and will costs.

A quick search at a free website,, will reflect the average costs of a wedding in your particular area, by simply entering your zip code of the marriage location.  Here's what I found for Universal City:

  • The average costs of a wedding in Universal City, TX is $27,320!
  • Number of guests between 101 - 200, $23,234 - $38,723
  • A single guest could add between $195 and $239 to the total cost of your wedding

Ok, that being said, so what is the average costs of the venue, catering, flowers, and photography?  Well, you can find out the average cost by visiting this site.  Keep in mind, that the prices mentioned are not what the vendors provided, but what the wedding couples actually paid.  In the last year alone, I have witnessed wedding couples paying upwards of $10,000 just for the venue alone.  Sometimes this includes the food and decorating.

But let's address the one cost that needs to be considered.  The one item that you should have left over after the wedding day, besides the wedding gown and rings!  Photography!  A well vetted professional photographer's purpose is to document, and preserve your memories of the most important day of your life.  So what should you expect to pay?

  • Expect to spend $3,212 or more for Well-Experienced, Highly Regarded Professional Photographer.

What do you get for this?  Well that depends upon the packages offered.  But you need to know what really is included, and what hidden costs may lurk in the background.  When you commission a professional photographer, it should be completely disclosed what "is" and "is not" included in the price quoted, and if you don't see what you are looking for, ASK!

The culture of Matrix Digital Arts Photography has always been to be completely upfront with our clients on what is and is not included, and what it will cost for the extras not included.  This is one of the reasons we score so high in our reviews, and have received accreditation by the Better Business Bureau.  Speaking of Reviews, that's a separate Blog topic we need to cover.  They are not always what they reflect.  How much did the vendor pay the client to provide that review?  Watch for a follow-up to this topic!

Michael Holeda

Executive Directory and Photographer


(Matrix Digital Arts Photography) cost of getting married cost of weddings wedding photography costs Tue, 11 Dec 2018 14:34:56 GMT
It Happen Again! Yesterday, I came upon an article about a couple in Parma, Ohio, who recently had to take their wedding photographer to a small claims court.  Apparently, they had waited 18 months, and still hadn't seen their wedding pics.  While researching this photographer, I discovered that this wasn't the first case against him!

It pays to research ALL of the vendors you are considering for your wedding, especially the photographer.  Don't put yourself in a position that will lead to great disappointment for the most important milestone of your lives together.

There are several ways of doing this:

  • First check the local Better Business Bureau.  There, you will find how many complaints have been filed, and how quickly the photographer remedied the issue, if at all.  We have been Accredited by the BBB since 2010, and also sport a A+ rating with no complaints.
  • Check the popular wedding websites, like WeddingWire and TheKnot.  See if your photographer is listed there, and what kind of review has been provided by the newlyweds.  Be careful though, a very high volume of five star reviews in a short period of time may actually reflect fake or paid reviews.  When a wedding client tells us they love our work and products, we suggest they feel free to write a review on the site they found us.  We never ask, nor beg our clients to do so.  So any of our reviews, whether on Facebook, WeddingWire, TheKnot, our Google Search is spontaneous as it should be.
  • Ask for two or three referrals.  Take the time to call them, introduce yourself, and ask them how they felt about their photographer.  Was he dressed properly, show up on time, deliver what was promised, etc.
  • And finally, go to  This is a company out of Seattle, that reviews professional services of many varieties, including wedding photographers.  It's not a "paid to be included" site.  You have to earn it.  There, you will see how many photographers they reviewed for your city, and who made the top 20 or so from their curated list.  We were surprised three years ago to learn we made the list out of 427 wedding photographers reviewed in San Antonio.  22 made the list, and we were honored to be one of them.

Your wedding photography is really the most important investment you will make for your wedding.  Not the cake, dress, venue, or the food your guests will be consuming.  After the guests have gone, the cake eaten, and the wedding dress packed away, what do you have left?  It's your memories, and hopefully a beautiful wedding album that has documented your day!

Michael Holeda

Executive Director & Photographer

Matrix Digital Arts Photography

(Matrix Digital Arts Photography) reputable wedding photographers stung by wedding photographers wedding photographers Sun, 03 Jun 2018 23:12:09 GMT
Engagement Season This is the time of year when we get the most requests for wedding consultations.  It started a little early for us this time, just after Thanksgiving, and will continue through February.

Right now, we are fulfilling orders from our very busy Fall Season, when we cover the most weddings.  Many professional photographers provide the images 4-6 weeks after the wedding, but we promise and deliver within 10 days!  Then it's a matter for us to wait for the clients to pick their favorite images for their Signature Album or Signature Books, which we personally design from scratch.

Our next few weeks will be spent on Engagement and Bridal Formal Portraiture shoots for our upcoming summer and fall weddings.

Engaged?  Give us a call!  Check our our superb products!  Our pricing will blow you away especially if you have already visited 2-3 other photographers in the area.  Learn why we are rated by Expertise as one of the top wedding photographers in the San Antonio Area! EngagmentPortfolio2017-7201

(Matrix Digital Arts Photography) engagments matrix digital arts photography weddings Sun, 28 Jan 2018 16:59:17 GMT
The Challenges of Hiring Your Wedding Photographer  I was recently reminded by a client's review on TheKnot, what goes through the mind of a bride when interviewing photographers for the wedding. A couple of the points I took notice of:

  • Very stressful part of the planning process.
  • Important, because those pictures are forever.

These were her words, and I could add a couple more points which she mentioned:

  • Genuiness of the photographer and presentation
  • Quality of the work
  • Advantages of two professional photographers
  • No hidden costs

I was happy to read her perspective of our work, and how relaxed she became while interviewing us for her special day.  With over 400 professional wedding photographers in the San Antonio Area, it can be very overwhelming to decide which ones to consider, interview, and then eventually decide to commission.


We have all heard the ole phrase, "You get what you pay for!" Unfortunately, too many brides choose the price over quality.  Additionally, some of those low budget photographers are low budget to attract business to fill their calendars.  Then, there is the occasional "no show" photographer, or the one that fails to provide what was promised.

How do you make the decision while protecting yourself?  For starters, they should be rated by the Better Business Bureau, like ourselves, members of professional photography associations, and last but not least, able to provide referrals directly, or indirectly via website reviews.

Here is a link, to tips on how to select that professional wedding photographer by to assist you in that "stressful part of the planning process."

Six Pointers for Picking  the Perfect Wedding Photographer

Michael Holeda

Executive Director and Photographer

Matrix Digital Arts Photography


(Matrix Digital Arts Photography) a choose costs how photographer photographer. photography to wedding Sun, 17 Sep 2017 12:07:19 GMT
A Reminder from Hurricane Harvey With the recent horrific damages and interruptions to our lives resulting from Harvey, I wondered how many weddings were ruined.

The cancellation of long-awaited and planned for wedding this time was a result of nature.  But one thing is quite certain.  Deposits for the venues, caterers, among other things, were lost.  Most of the vendors today keep your money, regardless of the reason you may give them.

So the question begs....

  • What could you do to prevent the financial loss as a result of unforeseen bad weather?
  • Or a groom that backs out at the last minute?
  • Food poisoning from the caterer?
  • Accidental damage to the venue?
  • A photographer that disappears after the wedding, never to be heard from again.  Or worst yet, fails to even arrive at your wedding.

Although during the wedding planning, one never thinks of these possible unhappy events happening to you!  But they do happen!  Everyday to some bridal couple across the country.

What can you do?

Buy wedding event insurance!  It's very low cost!  So low in fact, you wonder why everybody doesn't purchase it.  Everything from liability to reimbursement of costs associated with the items already mentioned, plus much more.

There are many insurers available.  Our recommendation is WedSure! Check them out and enjoy your special day with the peace of mind you deserve.

by Michael Holeda

Excecutive Director and Photographer

(Matrix Digital Arts Photography) insurance wedding Sat, 02 Sep 2017 17:09:45 GMT
First Looks     First LooksTop- the Groom sees his bride begin to walk through the door out to the courtyard, and then becomes overwhelmed with the emotion of it all. Bottom - Staged, The bride walks down the steps to the first landing, and calls out to her fiance to turn around. Priceless!

One of the critical shots for us is "First Looks."

Now there are two types:

  1. Staged - The bride wants to set up a scene where the bride and groom are alone, and he walks up to her, and she turns around.  He gets to see his bride for the first time in her wedding dress before the ceremony.
  2. Candid - This is the most common and why having two photographers is so important for a wedding ceremony.  In our case, one of us has a camera trained on the groom while he stands at the front awaiting her entrance.  The look is priceless when she appears, and many times there may be some emotion with a tear or two.  Of course, we capture that!  The other photographer is trained on the bride as she makes her entrance, and ensuring we get her expression as she glances up to see her "soon-to-be-husband."

Think about which way you would like it.  It's one of the things we discuss during your consultation.


Executive Director & Photographer

(Matrix Digital Arts Photography) arts digital first looks matrix photography wedding Sun, 13 Aug 2017 16:40:17 GMT
$28,000? What?  $28,000 is the "average" cost of a wedding in the San Antonio Area!  Surprised?

So how much is for professional wedding photography?  For many brides, it's the last item on their list.  By the time a venue is rented, the caterer is secured, flowers, cake, (don't forget the Groom's cake too), wedding dress, the bride-to-be finds herself looking for a budget photographer!

There are 2-3 things that should be the first to secure:

  • Where will you get married and celebrate with your friends?  Most churches and venues are booked a year in advance.  Too many are disappointed after paging through wedding magazines, and searching on websites, to find that their first choice is already taken.
  • Who will capture one of the most important days of your life to remember forever?  Most reputable professional wedding photographers, like us, are booked 12-18 months in advance.  So commissioning a photographer should be one of the top items on your list.

Of all of the professional vendors a bride-to-be hires for her wedding, it's the wedding photographer that will be spending the most time with her. From the Engagement shoot, Bridal Formal, and the Wedding Day, the average professional wedding photographer will have invested 40-60 hours of labor into ensuring the wedding day is captured to look back upon many years from now.

So what is the accepted amount you should invest in a wedding photographer?  The industry standard is 10-15% of your total wedding costs.

Too often, we get leads from brides who indicate their budget is $500.  But they are spending, on average $25 per plate for 150 guests, $3,750 for food, $2,500 on the hall rental, and on average $800 on the wedding cake.  Three things that will not exist the day after the wedding!

What is professional wedding photography worth to you? _D4V5728_D4V5728


(Matrix Digital Arts Photography) Mon, 29 May 2017 11:57:58 GMT
Senior Portraits DSC_0183DSC_0183 It's that time of year, when we get that sudden RUSH for last minute Senior Portraits.  For the most part, gone are the days of wearing the cap & gown.  Although when we get called, we suggest that the parents take their own pics of their senior on graduation day in the gown.  Much more meaningful then posed pics a week before or after!

We love shooting seniors.  It gives our photographers a chance to be a little more creative, going to unusual locations and shooting on site. Wearing their sports attire, or standing next to their most important thing in their life - their car! 

Give us a call if you have a senior coming up.  It's not too late for 2017!  And we won't charge extra for the last minute RUSH!

GAS_1562_ppTimothy - Class of 2017Shot at Brackenridge Park

(Matrix Digital Arts Photography) arts digital high matrix photography portraits school senior Tue, 14 Mar 2017 19:46:59 GMT
Texas Country Weddings in the Fall

The Fall Season is extremely busy for Texas Wedding Photographers, including us!  The fall is popular for a number of reasons: Most likely more comfortable temperatures for outdoor ceremonies, bridal portrait sessions, fall colors, etc.

A couple things to keep in mind when you are planning your Autumn Wedding:

  • Will the outdoor venue for your ceremony accommodate the number of guests you are considering to invite.
  • If you are planning your wedding after the first of November, remember that you may be impacted by the "Fall Back" Time change, returning to standard time. This will have the sun setting an hour earlier, around 5:45PM.  So if you want outdoor group formals following your ceremony, you may want to consider a 4:00PM Ceremony.
  • Many of the ranch type venues are accessible only by poorly lit dirt roads leading into them. Consider the safety of your guests.  It will be dark when they leave, with Texas deer lining the pathway of their exit!

We love shooting weddings in the fall, and just when we think we have covered a wedding at every area country venue, we learn of another!


(Matrix Digital Arts Photography) Arts Country Digital Matrix Photography Texas Wedding Weddings Sun, 30 Oct 2016 13:13:20 GMT
Wedding Packages - Don't Get Boxed In! Usually the first question of a prospective wedding bride when contacting us, "What are your wedding packages?"

One Size Doesn't Fit All Needs

Many photographers will price packages on hours of coverage, and a preselected group of products to remember your important day.  But what if your wedding day is unique?  What if the package choice is for 4 hours of coverage or 8 hours? Your wedding only needs a photographer for 6 hours.

Important questions to ask when interviewing a photographer:

  1. What if I need you longer than your package price?  What will be the cost for an additional hour or two?  Is that for two professional photographers or is one of them an assistant?
  2. What is the quality of the album included?  Is it top of the line, or a discounted book?
  3. What if I don't want the eight 8x10s, but instead just a couple?  How much will the difference be?

Matrix Digital Arts Photography Collections

We learned a long time ago, that each bride and each wedding is unique.  Every bride already has in mind what she would like to have for her wedding day, and about how long she would need coverage.

This is why we don't sell packages.  Instead, we believe the bride should have the option to choose how long photographers should be shooting, and also the size, type, and number of pages in her album; whether her digital images are delivered on a DVD disc, or a USB Drive Stick.  When we have a consultation with a bride-to-be, we present all of our available products and options, and help the bride on her choices where necessary. Then we bundle her choices together into a "Collection" and provide a package discount price.

Another unique difference with us: We don't charge for Pre-Ceremony Shooting. (The bride getting ready, and the groomsmen's last minute preparations.) Our agreements include that time automatically, even though we don't start the "clock" until the ceremony begins.

Things we like to give the bride a choice on, and should be considered when consulting with any professional photographer:

  • What about an engagement shoot? How long will it take, and what can you get?
  • How about the Bridal Formal?  The one of two times you will be wearing your wedding dress.  Do you have a choice of the shoot location? What will you get in return?  A Kodak 11x14 print or a professional Fine Art 16x20?  What are the options on shoot locations?
  • When does the ceremony begin, and how long do you want the photographers to stay during the reception?
  • Digital Images - What if you want them printed by a professional lab rather than a discount store. How is that handled?
  • Do you want a professional wedding album or a hard bound published book, commonly called a "coffee table book?"  How many pages do you think you would like? 

This is just a small sample of questions and choices.  But whatever you choose, make sure it is what you want!  After all, it is your wedding day and it's your choice on how you want to remember it by!


(Matrix Digital Arts Photography) Wedding Packages WeddingPrices Sat, 08 Oct 2016 21:28:54 GMT
Congratulations on your Engagement! We will provide useful information in this new series for the newly engaged couple to consider while reviewing all of the vendor opportunities.  This week, we will start off with the "Ceremony Location."

Once you have made the commitment to get married, a lot of choices and decisions need to be made.  One of those, of course, is the location of your ceremony.  But first, you must decide if it will be a traditional church wedding, or a simple ceremony at a park or wedding venue.

If you choose a church, there are a few things you might want to ask the wedding coordinator at the church.  Among these is:

  • Availability of your chosen wedding date. How will their time slots fit your plans?
  • Is the church more interested in preserving their reverence traditions or your experience of a beautiful wedding. We have experienced both. There are churches, which we have shot weddings, that have very strict rules as to where the photographer or photographers are allowed to position themselves.  One church in recent memory, required us to stay behind the seated guests and shoot from the back of the church.  If there is no balcony, this is limiting the available perspectives. We compensated for this by setting up remotely controlled cameras positioned to ensure we could get those "important shots."  Ask them if they limit where the photographer can shoot from, and if it's very limited, is it because they have had bad experiences with obnoxious photographers.  Our photographers have a reputation of being non-disruptive, and moving very slowly and smoothly to capture the wedding ceremony moments without even being noticed.  The bottom line: Ask the questions, because you are paying for the use of the church and you should have a voice in getting what you want!
  • How much time will the church allow after the ceremony to permit the photographers to shoot your group formals at the front of the church.  Is there another service or Mass scheduled 30 minutes after your ceremony?  This could pose a problem.  You want at least a full hour afterwards to allow you to get those important pics of you and all of your family members as desired.  Will the priest or minister be available for the first group shot?
  • If you will be using a wedding venue for your ceremony, you have no worries.  The coordinators at these locations know the importance of the ceremony photography and very rarely ever pose restrictions on vendor's participation.

Try to keep in mind for your planning purposes, the length of time between your ceremony and the reception.  The photographers are going to charge you from the very start, like pre-ceremony detail shots of the bride's preparation, to the wedding couple exit after the reception party.  If your ceremony is at 1:00PM, and your reception begins at 6 or 7PM, you have a few hours that the photographers will not really be doing anything, but you will still be charged.  We try to compensate for this time lag by capturing the limo ride, or going to the reception venue early to capture detail shots of the table decorations, cake, and your arrival.

We hope this small article has provided you with useful information to consider when choosing your ceremony locations.

As us for our detailed timeline list of the things you need to consider when planning your wedding day!

From the desk of Michael Holeda, Executive Director and Photographer for Matrix Digital Arts

(Matrix Digital Arts Photography) Church Wedding Ceremony Wedding Venues Wed, 30 Dec 2015 14:06:13 GMT