Why did you choose to photograph weddings?
When I started as a photographer, I wanted to explore every niche of photographing people. I’ve always been intrigued by weddings and brides so I naturally began shooting weddings, but also did a lot of fashion, modeling and corporate shoots. The thing that kept drawing me back to weddings is it’s not just individual photos. You’re really acting as someone’s memory and weaving together a story that helps them relive that one special night forever, which is such a huge responsibility. I never get tired of showing a bride her photos for the first time, and seeing her react to those special, once in a lifetime moments, especially the ones she missed or forgot about.
How is wedding photography different from portraits or other events?
The sheer ascetic beauty and emotion involved in a wedding is powerful– the bride, the groom, the families, the anticipation, the affectionate expressions, the expected and unexpected. So many of the great moments can be so fleeting, there and gone in an instant. I enjoy the challenge of being the visual historian –having to be completely dialed in and not missing a beat.
Additionally, with a wedding there are just such a wide variety of shots that encompass that single event. From outdoor portraits in direct sunlight to action shots on a candlelit dance floor, all in the same wedding. As a photographer, you’re really working with all of your skills and using a wide variety of tools to capture all the moments and details.
Describe the biggest wedding blunder you witnessed while photographing…
In August I photographed an indoor wedding where the four-tiered cake must have sensed the outside heat. It melted and toppled to the floor just moments after the bride saw it for the first time. Luckily, the bride was fine with them making her a quick, small replacement to cut later in the evening.
What is it like to be an outside witness to an event so meaningful?
It’s really a privilege. As an outside observer I’m free to watch everything. At the same time, I’m very much inside the bride and groom’s world capturing everything that is important to them and more. I am forever bonded to many people because of this involvement, and often end up photographing their families.
Describe the sweetest moment you witnessed while photographing. I have witnessed so many sweet moments it would be hard to choose just one. I’m always a sucker for a grooms crying, or a great father/daughter dance, as well.
Do you ever have to deal with so-called “bridezillas”? If so, how do you cope? Actually, no. I have photographed hundreds of weddings, and I have yet to have a coined “bridezilla” I have had some very nervous brides which is totally normal, and as the photographer I see it as part of my job to try to redirect the emotion and focus it somewhere more positive, and I always stay calm and understanding.
How do you make the photos of each wedding original and exciting?
Every wedding has original and exciting moments and it’s my job to capture them. No two weddings are the same for sure, and I never find myself having to dial up the excitement or create original moments. They just happen.
Describe the best wedding you had the opportunity to photograph, and what made the photos so special. All weddings are beautiful. The couples always inspire me. I have been to some really neat destinations like Anguilla and Disney. I’ve also stayed close to home at some of my favorites like Crosley Mansion, The Longboat Key Club, The Ritz Carlton and The Ringling Museum, and have met some really incredible people along the way that I still stay in contact with, and get to watch their families grow.
How do you feel your photography adds to the meaning of a couple’s wedding? I’m sure with every couple it’s different, but I hope that most couples’ look at the photos and say “that was us, that was definitely the way I remember our day”. I really want them to be excited and proud to share and relive those memories.
Did you ever have a time where you cried or felt emotional at one of the weddings you were photographing? If so, explain. I must confess that I usually end up crying at almost every wedding I shoot. Several years ago before I was married, I used to cry during the ceremonies. Now that I’m married with two children I cry during the parent dances, imagining my children.