How did you get started in the wedding business? I had been working as an editorial and commercial photographer since college and had photographed a few weddings for family and friends throughout that time. A college friend of mine kept encouraging me to get involved in the wedding industry as I became more and more frustrated with the direction of my business. One year I just made the decision to switch entirely and my whole attitude about photography and my business changed. It was the best career decision I’ve ever made.
What do you do when you are not working? I watch a lot of movies, I read every night and spend any free time I have with family and friends. I’ve been in the business for so long that everyone tries to plan events around my crazy schedule. I also travel several times a year and I’m always thinking of my next adventure. Honestly, you could just throw a dart at a map and I’d probably want to go there.
How would you describe your approach to weddings? I describe myself as a documentary style photographer. I don’t like to interfere too much with the wedding day outside of the portrait session. Even then I try to make people feel comfortable so they look natural in the photos. I’m generally pretty relaxed and centered when I shoot. Weddings can be crazy and I don’t like to add any more stress. That’s not to say I can’t be funny and goofy when the moment calls for it. I take my cues from the couple and try to anticipate the type of personality they need for the day.
What inspires you in your work? 1. My Clients - Nothing helps you create a great image better than the emotions of the people you’re photographing. The excitement of the day, the laughter and the tears are what keeps me shooting. 2. My Fellow Colleagues - I love looking at photographers’ work online. It’s great inspiration for new lighting techniques, unique composition or ideas for specific locations. 3. Music Videos - If you ever want to see the latest trendy photo technique just watch some recent music videos. Besides, it’s just fun.
What do you find the most rewarding about your job? The most rewarding thing about my job is knowing that I’ve captured a moment that will be cherished. A lot of times photos are all we have to remember the events or people in our lives and weddings bring together all that is important to us in one day. I look at my parents’ wedding photos and I feel a little of what they felt on their wedding day. I look at my own wedding photos and I can remember more clearly exactly what I felt when we said I do.
What's the one thing you wish everyone knew about you or your business? I have the fastest turn-around time in the area. My clients get to see a sneak peek of images 1-2 days after their wedding and the full gallery is available in 2-3 weeks. The digital negatives are shipped as soon as the gallery is launched. No one should have to wait to see their images.
What do you think sets your company apart from other photographers? Preparation and customer service. I make myself available to my clients throughout the wedding planning process and I take care to research and prepare for their wedding well before the event. I help my clients with wardrobe questions, timeline planning and speak to venues and coordinators. I answer every email in a timely fashion and even talk with parents and family members if needed. I visit each venue before the wedding day so I know exactly what to expect.
What do you love about weddings? I started out making an incredibly long list then I realized I simply like the way weddings make me feel. From planning to shooting to post production I get to ride the emotional roller coaster with the couple and their loved ones. I get excited when I hear their ideas, I’m overjoyed when I capture that incredible moment and I love being able to give them something to remember that time in their lives.
What do you hate about weddings? A wedding is an exciting and stressful event so a little drama is par for the course; however, it absolutely breaks my heart to see a friend or family member purposefully create a negative situation at a wedding. The day should be loving and fun and full of joy, not anger or jealousy or spite.
What is the coolest thing you've ever seen at a wedding? A bridesmaid and a groomsman had won the bouquet and garter toss. The couple had chosen an unusually rockin’ blues song and the groomsman proceeded to perform an incredibly intricate and somewhat exotic macho dance towards the seated bridesmaid. She accompanied his routine with one of her own that rivaled the movie Flashdance. This completely unscripted duet went on for the entirety of the song and ended in what can only be described as a Broadway style finale. It’s the one time I wished I was a videographer. (Shhh....don’t tell anyone I said that!)
What's the best piece of advice you can give to couples planning a wedding? Find people to work with you like and trust. The key to a stress free enjoyable wedding is to hire professionals who know what they are doing and will be there for you. I don’t care if a florist has been in ten magazines or all of your friends have used the same make up artist. Choose people you get along with and have a good feeling about. You don’t want to spend the next ten months leaving unanswered voicemails or arguing over place settings with someone you can’t stand. A venue may be amazing but not if the coordinator isn’t responsive or nice. It’s not worth the hassle.
Who is your favorite artist or band? Well, if you go by my iTunes stats my favorite artist is Jamie Cullum. I would have to agree. He’s gotten me through a lot of editing and road trips.
What is the worst song of all time? The Cha Cha Slide. I really can’t stand the guy’s voice. Unfortunately, I believe I will hear this song at every wedding from now until eternity. I’ve come to peace with it.
Open mic, final thoughts: Picture a mic, the stage is empty/A beat like this might tempt me/To pose, show my rings and my fat gold chain/Grab the mic like I'm on Soul Train...What? I’m sorry. Where was I?
Thanks for breaking it down for us, Kyle!