How did you know you wanted to be a photographer? How did you go about starting out?
I actually started out teaching special education. During my teaching career, my husband and I started a family and I picked up my first “real” camera to capture my growing little boys. The perfectionist in me wanted to take the best images possible, and the teacher in me learned how. I started photographing friends and family, and eventually turned my newfound passion into a business.
How long have you been in the business?
I have been in business for three years, and very blessed to have grown so significantly in such a short amount of time. This year I was awarded Best of the Weddings which was very exciting!
What are the qualities that make a successful wedding photographer?
A wedding photographer is one of the few vendors that is with the couple throughout the entire day, so you have to feel comfortable with them. I think that my outgoing personality really helps my couples relax and have fun with their wedding day photography.
I am also a very organized and quick on my feet type person. I probably can thank my years as a special education teacher for that. Months before the wedding, I go over timelines and day of details with my couples so that their wedding is as stress-free as possible for them. If something deviates from our plan, I am able to brainstorm a solution fairly fast.
Why do you love photographing weddings and engagements?
My favorite part about being a wedding photographer is the ability to create images that my couple’s feel truly “captured them” - their loving interactions, genuine personalities and the special little moments throughout the day.
I am also a huge people person, so being able to meet new people as part of my job is a perfect fit!
How has your photography (style) changed since you started?
When I first started photography I was an all natural light photographer, and as I searched to find ways to take my images to the next level I started utilizing off camera and occasionally on camera flash. It is something that I have grown to love, and use in all of my engagement and wedding day photography. Use of off camera flash ensures my couples look their best with flattering and beautiful light.
I also started my business as a very posed and almost rigid photographer. I often shot entire sessions with only posed images, and while a few of these images are important they often lack emotion, energy and movement. I decided to add fun prompts into the mix. For example asking my couple to “drunk walk” towards me with hips connected, while looking only at each other and laughing together. My couples and I loved the resulting images that illustrated their loving interactions.
When choosing their photographer, what should a couple look for?
I think that when choosing a photographer, couples should look for a person they feel comfortable with. They are with a couple the entire day, so it’s important personalities mesh well.
I also recommend that a couple check to see if a photographer’s style of photography blends with the couple’s vision of their wedding images. Do you want posed or unposed images? Do you have a preferred style of editing (ie: true to color, light and airy, dark and moody). Looking at a wedding photographer’s portfolio is a great way to view their style.
Finally, how does the photographer run their business? For example, effective communication and client convenience is an important part of my business. I want the process to be as smooth and stress-free as possible for my couples, which is why I communicate often and all contracts, questionnaires and invoice can be completed online. It is just one less thing my couples have to worry about!
Is there anything you wish couples would ask?
I find my couples are very informed, and ask a lot of great questions.
One question that I don’t often get asked, but think would be a good idea is about backups- both equipment and data. No matter who you choose as your wedding photographer, you only get one wedding day. There isn’t a second chance, so a photographer who is prepared is always a good idea.
For example a wedding day is not the time for technical issues with equipment. This is why I always bring a backup camera, lenses, batteries, flashes & more. All ready to go so that I don't miss a minute of my couple’s wedding.
It is also important to entrust the handling and storage of wedding day images to someone who understands how to prevent data loss.
How do you assist in keeping the wedding day running smoothly? Do you work hand in hand with the other vendors?
Being prepared for the wedding day helps me assist in keeping it running smoothly. By planning the photography timeline, family photo list and other day of details with my couples I am able to keep everything on track.
I collect vendor information from my couples beforehand as well because I am then able to work closely with other vendors to best serve my clients.
What is a typical wedding day routine for you?
Often I am up early the day of a wedding. I have everything charged, packed and ready to go the night before, but I like to check it again to make sure I am prepared for the day. I will look over the timeline, family photo list as well as names of the bridal party and close family members.
If I am headed to a new venue, I arrive early to scope out the best locations. Then I am off to find the bride and groom to start capturing their day.
Do you have an all-time favorite wedding image? If so will you share it with us.
I don’t have just one all-time favorite wedding image because I often fall in love with three or four images from each wedding that best “capture” my bride and groom celebrating their marriage.