We’re always overjoyed when we hear one of our clients has hired Michelle Lindsay as their photographer, because we know the images will be stunning and the couple will be thrilled! In addition to having an incredible eye, Michelle is also one of the kindest people in the business. We are so happy that she agreed to share her thoughts on weddings and photography with our readers. Here we go!
How did you get started in the wedding business? I studied photojournalism at Boston University. I never in a million years dreamed I'd become a professional photographer, let alone a wedding photographer, but I had a very encouraging professor who mentored me all throughout college. Post college, that same professor hired me to second shoot weddings with him and everything sort of snowballed from there. While I didn't intentionally set out to be a wedding photographer, I don't think I would change the course of events that led me to where I am today in my business.
What do you do when you are not working? When I'm lucky enough to have a weekend off, you can usually find me either hiking with my dog, Kody, or at one of the Virginia wineries! I definitely like to get outside and away from the city whenever I can.
How would you describe your approach to weddings? Have fun. Create amazing art. Simply put, I love to have an enjoyable, relaxed experience with my couples on the wedding day - like I'm just another friend or guest at the wedding. At the same time, it's important to me that at every single wedding, I'm pushing the creative boundaries to see something new and create that unique collection of art for each of my clients to remember their day by.
What inspires you in your work? Travel is a huge source of inspiration for me. Seeing/experiencing new things keeps pushing me to see more/experience more. It forces me to get outside my comfort zone, which in turn inspires me to take risks in both my artist work and my job.
What do you find the most rewarding about your job? The people I get to meet. From my clients to other wedding vendors, there are so many individuals whom I would have never in a million years crossed paths with outside of my job and I have had many of these unique relationships turn into lifelong friendships. I think that's pretty darn cool.
What's the one thing you wish everyone knew about you or your business? I'm a business owner first - photographer second. People struggle with understanding why photography costs so much. When I first started out, I didn't fully understand how much overhead expenses cost to run a small business - rent, utilities, photographic and computer equipment, liability and equipment insurance, health insurance...the list goes on. It took me a while to understand that I had to account for all of these costs of doing business into my pricing if I was going to actually make a profit that could support basic things like gas, groceries and my mortgage.
I recently saw a very heated Facebook post where a woman accused photographers of taking advantage of people, saying that our jobs were less important than others and so we should charge less. Uneducated comments like this fuel the perception that professional photography is a hobby, when in reality, it is a business and we are trying to make a living doing something we enjoy and excel at just like everyone else.
What do you think sets you apart from other photographers? My vision. Five photographers could walk into the same room with the sample couple and the same lighting and all produce completely different images. We all "see" differently and I think the way I interpret light, shadows, angles, movement and emotion is distinctly different from other photographers.
What do you love about weddings? The uncertainty. It's one of the few types of photography where you go into it not really knowing how the day/shoot will unfold because it's dictated by so many other factors and influences. I love not knowing what type of images I'm going to be inspired to create that day. I usually have some general idea in my head going into a wedding day, but I do truly let the day’s events and lighting conditions determine what type of imagery I end up creating.
What do you hate about weddings? Guests with cameras. I know! It's so cliché for a photographer to say that, but it does cause the biggest headache on the wedding day for us, trying to make sure that guests aren't in the aisle during the ceremony, aren't blocking us during the first dance, etc... Plus I'm a firm believer that enjoying the moment is more important than capturing it (when I'm not working of course!), which is why you hire a professional photographer in the first place. I constantly remind myself in my own daily life to put down the camera and simply take it all in and enjoy life instead of constantly snapping photos of it. I'd encourage wedding guests to do the same and enjoy the time with the friends/family instead of trying to get photos with their iPhones and iPads - after all, that's what we are there for!
What is the coolest thing you've ever seen at a wedding? I was lucky enough to get to photograph a wedding in Colombia with a good photographer friend of mine last year. Everything about that wedding was off the charts amazing, but at the very end of the night, a set of real, authentic Carnival dancers came out into the crowd and for 45 minutes straight, we had our own Colombian Carnival Festival at the wedding. The energy, costumes, music and dancing were so unreal...I didn't want it to end!
What's the best piece of advice you can give to couples planning a wedding? Take a deep breath and know that unless you have an unlimited budget, you won't be able to get everything you want. Set priorities and allocate your budget to the most important things on your list as this will also allow you to hire the vendors you want in those high priority categories. And hire a wedding planner. It will be the best money you spend for yourself on the wedding day!
Who is your favorite artist or band? There is no way I could pick just one. It depends on my mood, but I do listen to a lot of The Lumineers, Of Monsters and Men, Mumford and Sons and Death Cab for Cutie. Lately I've been on an Avicii kick - it gets me pumped up when I'm working on the computer and editing.
What is the worst song of all time? I know everyone loves it, but if I didn't have to hear the Electric Slide ever again in my life, I'd be a happier person :)
Open mic, final thoughts: The DC area is home to so many talented wedding vendors. I almost think it makes it harder to plan a wedding here because there are so many great photographers, DJs, bands, florists, wedding planners, etc., and I just feel so lucky to be a part of this amazing community and have the support of so many wonderfully talented vendors!