Our wedding, portrait and family photography philosophy are based on one simple premise: Personality, Photography & Price. In that order.
When we tell most people this, I can see the first thing they think of is “Why is price last”, you must be expensive and trying to hide it. Well, there is a shred of truth in that, but let me explain. Something we have discovered with our wedding photography, family and baby portraits and speaking with other photographers in and around Raleigh is “price does not matter if you didn’t have a great experience”.
It’s an experience? Wait… can you explain? Of course I can.
I’ve found my photography really spoke to me (and others) when I let my personality come thru in my work. Personality is the most important thing in a photographer because of this. Every one of my clients have to enjoy my presence on their wedding day. On your big day, emotions can run high, sometimes there is stress and, thru it all, I am there. I would be doing myself and my wedding clients a huge disservice if I didn’t talk with them about personality. My photography depends on capturing you, the real you, on your wedding day and if our personalities do not mesh, then the photography will suffer because your guard is up. With that in mind, if you don’t get the photography you want, does any other factor really matter at that point?
This is what I refer to as the experience. I want my clients to be happy that I’m there as part of their wedding day. Many times, I am there longer then anyone else who is not family (and sometimes longer then family) so it’s really important, to me, that you enjoy having me there.
The reason I have this on my about me page is, well, because I feel very strongly on this subject and saying so it, well, my personality!
I’ve lived in Raleigh NC since 1976 and have watched this town evolve into a thriving metropolis considering it’s very southern roots. I studied cinematography & photography in high school and, as life always likes a good curve ball, I got into the music business. As it turns out though, I got a real world education on using lighting to create drama, mood and how to evoke emotion through color, intensity and shape. From there I continually dabbled in photography but didn’t pursue it professionally until I found out my wife was pregnant with our first child. The thought of being a dad really re-kindled the passion I had for documenting my life, and the lives of others, as I saw it. I wanted to be able to show my little girl, once she grew up, how I lived, loved and saw the world… someone told me it was me wanting to leave a legacy, and I have to agree, that’s indeed what I want.
I quickly grew frustrated with digital cameras (point and shoots) so I called on my wedding photographer who captured my wedding for a favor – help me buy a decent camera! Well, sticker shock didn’t quite cover it when I saw the price tags on professional photography equipment, but I knew what I wanted and made the leap. About a month after getting the camera, playing with it, I found I needed more (it’s a guy thing I hear)… so I upgraded. During this time, I would send the occasional photograph to my, now, photography mentor and he would critique me. Not long after I upgraded, he got into a bind and needed someone to photograph a magazine story. I was shocked and honored all at the same time. I went out, did the shoot and got published the next month. 9 months after that, I was asked to be the Chief of Photography for Cary Magazine. I accepted the position with the blessing and wisdom of my mentor and photographed every aspect of the magazine, from food to products to portraits for the next year.
During this time I was also started working with my mentor, and others, in wedding photography. To make a long story even longer, my first solo wedding was for a great couple who’s chosen photographer had a family emergency. After the wedding, I was hooked, permanently, on wedding photography. The emotions, the beauty (and the wedding cake) all make see so excited to have the opportunity to give someone a gift of their life through my eyes.
After shooting over 400 weddings, I have finally been able to put together a few words to describe the experience. As I am a wedding photographer, and not a writer, this was actually much harder then I thought it would be, so forgive my use of examples.
So, what is the experience? This is best described with how I view my role at before, during and after your wedding day. Before your wedding, I am almost always reachable whether it’s a phone call, text message, email or Facebook chat. I think this is the most overlooked aspect of what a wedding photographer is – an invaluable resource. Every wedding day is different, special and filled with love, joy and symbolism. One thing it is also filled with is surprises, both good and, unfortunately, sometimes not so good. Before the wedding, I am here to answer any questions, help with time frames, and identify things that may be difficult to achieve or just won’t work without changes. A common occurrence is trying to do to much in too little time. My job is to make you happy and get great photos… I feel it’s my responsibility to make sure your wedding day plans are, well, going to go as planned. If they don’t, it can affect the beautiful photography we are trying to achieve either because of a lack of time or being stressed that we can’t fit it all in. Either way, it takes you away from enjoying the experience. I welcome every wedding client to use me as a resource as I have been to many, many weddings and have the understanding of time lines, conflicts and dependencies of how everything fits together – and what gets affected when changes occur.
Weddings have this energy to them that, unfortunately, I cannot fully describe. I felt it at my own wedding and I feel it at every wedding I photograph. The funny thing is, it’s always unique to the couple getting married. I love to use this energy to get photographs specific to my clients. I rarely do “canned” posing because I feel it’s my duty (and honor) to give the gift of unique wedding day images to my clients. It’s also my responsibility, of sorts, to be prepared for any unforeseen things that arise. Loose buttons, ripped pants, broken bustles, forgotten flowers, shoes that are too large, dresses that are too large, etc are all things I have faced and directly fixed on the wedding day. I carry an “emergency” pack of needles, thread, bobby pins, tape, gum, safety pins as well as a lot of ingenuity that is there to help. Again, as I am your wedding photographer, I see that anything which could effect the mood or energy of your wedding day as my responsibility to help overcome. I have even gone as far as getting the necessary paperwork to legally conduct your ceremony in North Carolina, should the need arise. I have not had to do this, and I hope I never will, but just in case, I am here for you and your wedding day.
After the wedding… As you enjoy a well deserved break after your wedding and enjoy time with each other on your honeymoon, I am working on your wedding day imagery. Contrary to popular thought, digital wedding photography has actually increased the amount of time photographers spend on your images. My goal is to have the images to you as quickly as possible. The album design process starts shortly after you have your images. Another way I try to help my clients is by doing a “pre-design” for the album. This is a custom designed layout that I made for you using how I viewed your wedding. When you receive this pre-design, you can then make any changes you want. I do this for the because I found it it very difficult for my clients to choose a specific number of photos for their album. This delays the process and how quickly you get your album. With pre-designed, my “life cycle” of album design and ordering was cut in half. With you being able to change anything you want to, this doesn’t impede your ability to change whatever you like. I just find it makes it easier on you when you already have a “base” to work from instead of a blank piece of paper.
This is why I call it an “experience”… being a wedding photographer, to me, means being there to always serve my clients and their best interests.