We were thrilled to work with Paired Images for the first time last year, and have enjoyed each wedding since (we’re also super excited to work with them again this weekend!). They’re as fun as they are talented, and have built a really impressive photography business that we’re happy to promote, fawn over and enjoy. We recently asked them to share their thoughts on weddings, music and more – here’s Jess and Jess! (To make things easy and so you can keep track of who is who, N = Jess Notargiacomo and L = Jess Latos)
How did you get started in the wedding business? N- In 2002, when I was getting ready to graduate from art school I managed a studio for a photographer who did events and portraits. I assisted her and her second photographer and edited all of their work. Doing both was crucial, I learned the entire process from start to finish from successful and very talented photographers. In conjunction with this, our director of the photography program was getting leads from brides who were interested in a student photographing their wedding. He knew I had some experience, so he passed them to me. I am really indebted to the 20 or so clients I had my first two years for trusting me with such a big life event. As well as all of my teachers and mentors. L- In 2005 after graduating from RIT, I was trolling Craigslist ads for a photography job (back when it wasn't as creepy). I came upon an ad listing for a commercial photographer looking for an assistant/studio manager. What I actually walked into was a log cabin with Notargiacomo sitting at a computer and a wedding venue just outside the window. So I thought to myself, "I guess I can learn wedding photography." And so my love of weddings and my friendship with the Notargiacomo began.
What do you do when you are not working? N- Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity Montgomery County as a photographer, read, stretch, hang out with Phil. I'm a workaholic. L- Read a lot, work out, create (glass blowing, paper products, jewelry, etc), ski, soccer, hang out with Nils and my family, nap. I'm interested in everything!
How would you describe your approach to weddings? N- Quiet and decisive but bossy when I need to be. I'm focused on the story and capturing personalities. L- Exuberant and detail oriented, but quiet until it's time to be loud. I'm focused on design to capture the mood.
What inspires you in your work? The people, the light, creating images people will value forever, and experiencing new traditions.
What do you find most rewarding about your job? The most rewarding moment for us as wedding photographers is after a wedding. We approach the bride/groom/parents to say goodbye and they wrap their arms around us, thank us and tell us how excited they are to see the photos. Most wedding vendors are finished with that wedding when the lights go out. We are just getting started. Over the next six months we get to relive the excitement with blog posts, delivering images, and creating an album. By then we are old friends and get to watch as the pair's life together grows.
What's the one thing you wish everyone knew about you or your business? We are full time photographers who laugh a lot.
What do you think sets your company apart from other photographers? The most obvious thing that sets us apart is that we are a pair of photographers in a 50/50 partnership with the same first name who are not in a relationship (even though we get asked a lot). We try to shoot together as much as we can and we share a business email address. What is nice about art related fields though is that no two artists are alike. Each photographer has their own story, style and personality which contributes to what sets them apart.
What do you love about weddings? The people. We are genuine people lovers, fascinated by family dynamics, inspired by the energy in a room and eager to hear, see and tell the story.
What do you hate about weddings? Wedding hangover. The day after when you feel everything you put your body through the day before, when you were too busy having fun to notice. (This has nothing to do with alcohol.)
What is the coolest thing you've ever seen at a wedding? A shoo-fly-pie almost the size of my arm span, a full double rainbow over a corn field, rings with the inside inscription "your ass is mine", Stevie Wonder singing as the bride walked down the aisle.
What's the best piece of advice you can give to couples planning a wedding? Be flexible without compromising what is really important to you. Hire competent vendors you connect with and then trust them. Plan before the wedding and then let it go on the day of. On your wedding day, have fun and be in the moment!
Who is your favorite artist or band? N- I'm a sucker for a good 90s mix, but Latos makes me skip the angry songs when she's in the studio. L- John Prine feels like home. Notargiacomo is in charge of the music. Our Pandora stations that get the most play... Bob Dylan, Teenage Dirt Bag, Nina Simone, Beyonce, Bon Iver, Outkast. We are a little all over the place, really depends on our mood.
What is the worst song of all time? The chicken dance song.
Open mic, final thoughts: Currently we share a desk and sit two feet from each other all day, every day. We are like sisters but excited to expand soon. Latos is currently desk shopping. We have an obsession with succulents, a bad ass camera collection, and every Saturday morning we go to the farmers market across the street for apple turnovers and conversation with our favorite vendors. We would be delighted if you stopped by the studio so we can get to know you and while you're here you can experience the Jess and Jess show!
Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us, Jess and Jess, and we'll see you out there for some wedding awesomeness!