This is a kick-off of a series on my blog called “Vendor Spotlight”. I have worked with some incredibly talented people in this industry and I want to highlight them. I will showcase vendors from every aspect of the wedding planning process: venues, photographers, caterers, calligraphers, even jewelry designers!
First up is someone near and dear to my heart! This extremely talented lady was MY wedding photographer. We have partnered together on two wedding so far and have four more coming up! Therefore, I am speaking not only as a fellow vendor but also as a bride; she is incredible.
What made you pick up a camera?
My brain told my hands and then I did. (Don’t print that)
Like most photographers, it was kind of an accident. I needed a Technology credit in high school and I couldn’t bear the thought of sitting in a keyboarding class, my guidance counselor told me I could take Photography as the credit. I remember thinking that was weird because it was an art class, but now I understand. Photography is very technical! You can’t get to the artistic part of it without understanding the technological side first. Oh, and I can still type 90wpm!
How did you get started in the wedding industry?
I have to thank my college friend and former bride, Jennifer, for this one! I have a degree in Communication Studies and I was going to graduate school for professional writing. At the time, I wanted to be a food writer – I had a food blog and a column in the local paper and everything! I just knew I wanted to be a better writer in some capacity and food/cooking was, and is, one of my favorite subjects. I used to take pictures of my recipes for my blog and I got a message from Jen one day asking if I photographed weddings (she was newly engaged!). I didn’t have a price sheet or a contract or anything, it just sounded like fun and I wanted to try it. Thankfully, her wedding was over a year away so I had plenty of time to practice before the big day. I shot a few other weddings before hers and I just loved it. I find I do well in service-based jobs that allow me to be creative while still loving on people and having a lot of autonomy. Photography combines those things really well for me.
Completely awesome. I’m kidding! As much as I’d like to say I am completely non-traditional, I also know it’s important to have timeless, classic images that won’t look dated fifty years from now. I try to put a spin on that by ensuring my images are romantic and soft and not just two people looking straight into the camera or stuck in a static pose. I love emotional photos – something with a little heat to it; photos where people are laughing naturally or in an easy embrace. I’d also say that I tend to shoot physically close to my clients, I’m not afraid to get right in there with them so we can fill up the frame.
I edit with film presets so they still have a modern appeal but I always hope that when my clients are celebrating their anniversary through the years, they don’t laugh at how cheesy their wedding photos were!
Who is your ideal bride and groom?
It took me a long time to figure this one out! I feel like there’s so much pressure to find a balance between holding out for your ideal client and needing to provide for your family. I never really sat down with a pen and paper and asked, “Who are my ideal clients?” I just didn’t have the experience to know the type of people and weddings I’d enjoy being a part of. I find that, with time and experience, I tend to attract ideal clients more often than not, but I also think you can turn almost anyone into an ideal client! Sometimes a bride doesn’t seem like a good fit, and often times she just needs more information about how things work!
Ideally, the best clients read my blog, follow me on Instagram, and they know a little about me before they even send that initial inquiry. I love couples who value family – whether it’s 50 cousins or just the two of them and their dog! Family is everything. I enjoy couples who are funny, sarcastic, and can laugh at me and at themselves. I love when I’m asking about their wedding day and they have a focus on creating a day that is meaningful and not just pretty, and they want to ensure their guests feel comfortable and welcome, too. I absolutely adore countryside weddings. Anything with rolling hills, beautiful sunsets, fields of flowers, elegant barns, and rustic but elevated details. I’ve been shooting a lot on the Eastern Shore and those waterfront weddings are pretty sweet, too. Anything that lets me shoot outside with natural scenery a good part of the day is wonderful. For me, the most important thing is that I can be friends with my couples. How they feel about me will make all the difference on their wedding day.
What is one thing you wish brides + grooms understood about choosing or working with their wedding photographer?
I can only pick one? 🙂 I would say it’s so important to ensure you enjoy the personality of your photographer and not just their images alone. Make sure you are going to get along well because you’ll be working together for months leading up to the wedding, you’ll spend most of your day with that person, and even some time after the wedding working with album sales and post-processing. I’d also encourage my couples to ask questions about workflow and communication – it sounds boring, but for me, getting my images out and answering e-mails in a timely manner is part of providing a solid experience for my couples. If you pick a photographer whose work you adore but you can’t get them to return your phone calls or you don’t enjoy their company, what good is that?
How can photographers and wedding planners work together for the client?
I think this is so important! These days, the role of “wedding planner” often falls on a relative, bridesmaid or even the venue representative rather than a dedicated professional. Often times, if no one is officially appointed to coordinate the day-of, it falls on the photographer. This isn’t a bad thing, but so much of the day revolves around photography so it’s a natural assumption to ask the photographer what’s next. I think the best combination of wedding planner + photographer involves respecting the timeline, being considerate of the bride’s (and groom’s!) wishes, and making sure everyone is treated with love and kindness in the stress of the day.
What’s one quirky thing people don’t know about you?
I was going to say that I collect cookbooks, I actually read them cover to cover like novels. Then I asked my husband what’s weird about me and he reminded me that I’m afraid of windmills – not the cute kind you see in storybooks, those creepy modern ones spread across the hillsides of central Pennsylvania. Something about them gives me the jeebies!