Today, a feast for your mind - we're joined for our (mostly) weekly wedding vendor interview series by Sam Taylor and Jennifer Cody of egomedia photography. No, the company name isn't capitalized - it's part of the joke... Huge egos, little letters... you'll get it soon, just check out their blog. We have done a lot of work with Sam and Jen, and they're hilarious! They always say what's on their minds and don't pull any punches -- it's a breath of fresh air. You've got to respect people who take their business this seriously and are this passionate about what they do, and always keep it real. I hope you're ready for this!!
How did you get started in the wedding business? I (Sam) was an Art Director and Lead Animator for network TV and Jen was working at the IMF doing international development work. I had shot a number of commercial photography jobs for TV as part of my animation work, and Jen is an incredibly naturally talented photographer. We saw a real need for art school kids to be involved in the wedding photography industry to bring a fresh look, concept, and mission to an otherwise frighteningly stale industry that was filled with more salespeople than real live photographers.
What do you do when you are not working? We work more. Our company is our life. When we are not working with clients, or meeting with prospective clients, we work on improving our images, workflow, concept, vision, and company as a whole. Sometimes we take a brief respite so that Jen can shop at Nordstrom and I can drive too fast and play games.
How would you describe your approach to weddings? Clients come to us to photograph their weddings, capture stunning images, process those images meticulously by hand, and then deliver them as a wholly consistent collection of striking photographs. We also only photograph weddings (no dogs, cats, or baby portraits). Doing something different from time to time is fun and exciting, but trying to be everything to everyone is just not us. We are also photojournalists, which is something we take very seriously.
What inspires you in your work? Being better. Better than we were yesterday, and the weeks and months before. Better than we hoped to be at the milestones we set for ourselves. We are also inspired by the fact that there are always photographers that are better than us, and that inspiration drives us to continue to improve all aspects of our photography as well as our company. The moment that we stop wanting to improve all aspects of our business and photography on a daily basis is when we will know that it's time to move on.
Amazing images that we capture that are cool and unique because of our perspective, their content, and the emotions of the subjects are also a huge point of inspiration for us. Too many mediocre photographers in the wedding industry try to define a “style” by taking boring snapshots with mimicked compositions or poses, then applying gimmicky effects, and treatments. They think that following a trend will make then stand out, but really it just perpetuates sameness.
We want our photographs to set us apart from others because of our vision, outlook, and style.
What do you find the most rewarding about your job? We love thrilled emails from clients when they receive their images. We love to look at the photos we took after a wedding no matter how late it is, or how tired we are. We love hearing from planners and other vendors that we helped to elevate our clients' wedding and make it better in some way. We totally revel in hearing that the way we approach our business is refreshing.
We have an ownership of our work that extends well beyond copyright, or who took what photos. We all have our specialties, and the best people for the job spearhead the individual roles of our company. Everyone takes part in every step of the process so that we can always maintain a real attachment to our work and clients. As real photographers it is our responsibility to our clients to edit our work down to the best images, painstaking process every single image by hand in a consistent manner, and then deliver them to our clients. The pride that goes along with seeing the job through is what keeps us going through constant 60-70 hour work weeks.
What's the one thing you wish everyone knew about you or your business? Having a unique style and look/feel to our work is the one of most important things that we strive for. We chose to leave very successful careers to pursue wedding photography because we knew that we could excel at it, and bring a level of competency and professionalism that is often lacking in the wedding industry. We founded egomedia photography to be a real company, not a hobby business or part time job. We are young, driven, and absurdly passionate about what we do.
What do you think sets your company apart from other photographers? See above. No, seriously. We think that our whole outlook is fairly different from most other wedding photographers and the wedding industry in general. We are not sales people. We do not see our clients' weddings as a product to sell. We do not insult our clients' intelligence by offering “credits” for ludicrously marked up items. We dress appropriately when working. We like photographing as many weddings as we can while maintaining our incredibly high standards. And we love what we do and want to keep working as much as we can. We don’t have any plans to raise our prices dramatically in order to decrease the number of weddings we do each year.
What do you love about weddings? Jen and I both left jobs where we had a great deal of success and accomplishment to found egomedia photography. We left because we love the challenges that running egomedia photography presents, love the way that weddings offer a constantly changing environment and unique groups of people to work with. Weddings allow us to make people happy with stunning images that will last a lifetime. They allow us to take images that will help you remember the way your new husband looked the first time he realized you were actually married. They allow us to take photos that will let people who don’t know you now to see what you were like and the emotions that you were experiencing on your wedding day. And of course once our clients' friends see them, we get to help make them really jealous of the amazing photos.
What do you hate about weddings? Not much about weddings themselves. We hate the fact that the wedding industry a lot of the time gets a bad rap. The problem is that a lot of the time it really deserves it. There are unprofessional vendors out there. Making empty promises or using aggressive sales tactics reflects poorly on us all. If vendors would just charge fair prices based on the quality of their work and skill we would all be a lot better off.
What is the coolest thing you've ever seen at a wedding? We recently got to see (and photograph) a bride's dad that is suffering from advanced ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) actually get to walk his daughter down the aisle. That was simply the best thing any of us have seen.
What's the best piece of advice you can give to couples planning a wedding? Figure out what you want for your wedding as a couple first -- before you start getting input from everyone else. Decide what you are willing to be flexible about and don’t obsess over those details. Decide what is most important to you and don’t let others sway you because “they know best”. Be discriminating and choose your wedding service providers very carefully so that when the wedding comes, you can relax and trust them to do their job.
Who is your favorite artist or band? Sam: Nine Inch Nails Jen: Marilyn Manson
What is the worst song of all time? Sam: Achy Breaky Heart Jen: Anything by Michael Bolton
Open mic, final thoughts: Hire vendors that impress you -- people that you like and can relate to. In our world you want vendors to be team players all working toward a common goal. If the planner keeps everything on time and in order then the caterer gets to serve hot and fresh food, which makes your guests happy and ready to have a great time at the reception. If your DJ is good and can read the crowd they are more likely to dance and let loose, and all of those things go toward giving us better opportunities to take stunning photographs.
[EVAN]: Thanks, y'all! Definitely some solid advice there, especially about building a great vendor team. I think people don't often realize that each piece of a wedding is so dependent on other pieces, and your vendor team is really only as strong as its weakest link. Keep up the great work, and we'll see you out there!!