Cicely Procopio and Jason Miller of Procopio Photography are a husband and wife duo who are known for delivering stunning images to their clients. We've had the pleasure of working with them in the past and they were even kind enough to shoot our Thursday Therapy event last month! We truly appreciate them taking the time to share their own unique experiences in the wedding industry. Here's Cicely and Jason!
How did you get started in the wedding business?
C: This is a long story so I will try to keep it short! I received a scholarship to Florida State for photography and it was my minor in college (Go Noles!!). I was a film photographer at this point and mostly shot model comp cards and family sessions. I didn't really have a direction, I just knew I loved photography.
Jason grew up shooting with his dad. His father, an avid hobbyist, would take Jason to Nikon School classes as a kid.
When Jason and I got married in Miami, we had a horrible experience with our photographer. That was the most important vendor to us and unfortunately our wedding photography experience was a complete nightmare. For starters, she didn't show up to our engagement session. I had my hair and makeup done for the shoot and we had to pay a permit fee to shoot at the location we were at. We stood there waiting for her at sunrise the day of our session. I will never forget it. As the sun got higher in the sky we continued calling her cell phone just to get her message recording over and over. Eventually we left and it took us about a week to finally get in touch with her. She claims she was out of the country and it wasn't in her planner. While that is not an excuse for any business person, and should have been a red flag of things to come, we ended up forgiving her. We really loved her work and figured she couldn't possibly mess up again at our wedding.
On the day of our wedding she was over an hour late. She got drunk at the reception, so drunk that I had guests coming up to me telling me that my photographer was wasted. To top it off, at the end of the night she tried to leave early. We had to fight with her to get our images (which took over a year to receive). Our whole experience with this photographer was absolutely horrible. Our photographer was the only vendor that went poorly on our wedding day. I was extremely angry and disappointed.
We realized that we could provide a much better service than our photographer provided to us. Jason and I found our purpose in photography. We knew we wanted to shoot weddings. I went to the Washington School of Photography to update my skills from film to digital. Soon after graduation, Procopio Photography was created!
The brides that book with us are in very good hands. We provide them with amazing images that they will have to share for generations to come but we also take great care to make sure we are accessible and responsive to our client's every need. We want our clients to enjoy their photography experience in addition to receiving great images.
J: Yeah, what she said. ;-)
What do you do when you are not working?
C: I love eating, cooking, and anything to do with food! DC is a great place for a foodie. I love going to new restaurants and experiencing different cuisines. When I have lots of time I enjoy making some of my grandmother's homemade Italian dishes.
I am also obsessed with my dog. We adopted a 7 year old female boxer named Frankie this past August. I just love her to pieces! So doing anything Frankie related also makes me very happy.
J: If I am not working during baseball season, I like to go to Nationals games. A perfect evening for me is sitting on the couch, listening to jazz or watching the Nats, a glass of bourbon in my hand, and smelling something tasty Cicely is cooking up in the kitchen.
How would you describe your approach to weddings?
C: We are modern, edgy, and have a fashion flare to our weddings.
J: We have a good mix of photojournalism and editorial shooting.
What inspires you in your work?
C: I am inspired by fashion and music.
J: I get most of my inspiration from old Hollywood films. The lighting is so impressive in old movies.
What do you find the most rewarding about your job?
C: I find it most rewarding when a woman feels beautiful. There are so many women out there with low self-esteem who hate themselves in photos. It warms my heart, when a bride tells me how much she loves how she looks in her images. This also applies to my boudoir photography. I just love celebrating how beautiful a woman is.
J: I know we take great photos but what is rewarding to me is our customer service. It makes me happy when we take care of our clients’ needs promptly.
What's the one thing you wish everyone knew about you or your business?
C: I wish everyone knew how hard it is to be a business owner. I can't tell you how many people meet us and say, "Wow, so you shoot weddings. It must be nice to only work on the weekends".
I would say that only 10% of my time is spent photographing. The rest is spent editing images, answer emails, marketing, going on site visits, designing albums, and doing the hundreds of other tasks that every business owner has to do.
J: Yeah, what she said. ;-)
What do you think sets your company apart from other photographers?
C: The majority of a wedding is photojournalism. We are there like flies on a wall capturing every moment that happens. All wedding photographers are photojournalists. What we bring to the table that is different is our modern, edgy, and dramatic portraits.
J: We are a husband and wife team so it is always the two of us. That is a great benefit because our work is very consistent. I can look at Cicely from across the room and know what she is getting. We also use a nice mix of off camera lighting and natural light.
What do you love about weddings?
C: I love the first look. A first look is when you see each other before the ceremony. The first look usually consists of a bride, a groom, and the photographer. It can be super emotional and I love that it is private. I would have loved that first moment with just Jason to be private on our wedding day.
J: I love the party in the reception. Crazy dancing shots are so fun to capture and be a part of. With a good Deejay (ahem… MyDeejay rocks) we know we will have awesome dancing pics.
What do you hate about weddings?
C: Weddings intensify emotions. They tend to bring out the best and the worst in people. We have been doing this long enough to see a lot of both. It makes me sad to see other family members not being nice to the bride and/or groom. I wish they could set aside their differences for one day. That is definitely my least favorite part of any wedding.
J: I really dislike that so many people are taking pictures with their phones and iPads at weddings. They are no longer present and enjoying the day. I wish they knew that they were missing the day and that they will never get that opportunity back again. My advice to people attending a wedding is to put your devices down and share in the moment.
What is the coolest thing you've ever seen at a wedding?
C: This past July (2013) the weather was rainy and wet for a solid week. We were scheduled to shoot an outdoor wedding at a family estate and I was so worried about this couples' event. The weather forecast was predicting rain at 100% for the entire day at their wedding.
This couple is just about the sweetest two people I have ever met. Their free spirits fit in perfectly with the nature and the open space of that backyard. It was killing me to think that the whole event would be held indoors if the rain didn't stop. Of course, the couple was so relaxed about the whole weather fiasco. They just wanted to be married and knew it would be fabulous rain or shine.
The morning of their wedding, we were driving to the bride's parents’ house and it was of course raining. Once we arrived though, a bright blue sky started poking through and the sun began to burn through the clouds. By the time we started shooting, we were looking at a brilliantly blue sky. I just couldn't believe it! That sunshine stayed all day and the couple was able to have their beautiful outdoor wedding without a drop of rain.
J: For me, the coolest thing I've seen at a wedding was a best man's speech. It wasn't what he said but how he said it. He walked over, picked up the mic, turned to the deejay and said, "hit it!” Some beats were piped in and the best man proceeded to rap his speech. The bridal party circled around him, arms flailing, heads bobbing to the best man's rap. So kick ass.
What's the best piece of advice you can give to couples planning a wedding?
C: The wedding day goes by so quickly. You spend a year or more planning this amazing event and it is over before you know it. I tell my couples to pause every once in a while and just take it all in. Hold each other’s hands and look around the room. I recommend a first look to our couples because that time alone on the wedding day is so important to share with each other. It slows down time and they really get to spend some precious moments together on their wedding day.
J: Hire a good wedding planner. Good wedding planners will make the day run smoothly and take the stress off of you and your close family. The last thing you want to do is pay all this money for such a lavish event and then not enjoy the day because you are worried about handling every little detail. I hate to see brides or mothers of the bride or even close family and friends stressing about all the details that may go wrong. Keep in mind that no day will ever run perfectly, but with a good planner, they will handle all of the little stuff so you, your family, and your friends won't have to.
Who is your favorite artist or band?
C: All-time favorite band: Pearl Jam
Can't imagine growing up without: STP, The Doors, The Stones, Bob Marley, Louis Armstrong, Sinead O'Connor, Ani DiFranco, Sublime, Weezer, and The Beatles
My latest obsession: The XX, Feist, Mason Jennings, Beach House, Two Door Cinema Club, Chvrches, Yeah Yeah Yeahs. MGMT, Metric, Edward Sharpe, Regina Spektor, Modest Mouse, Cat Power, Vampire Weekend, Stars, MIA
J: All-time favorite band: Dave Matthews
Can't imagine growing up without: The Police, U2, Tears for Fears
My latest obsession: Yeasayer, Terence Blanchard, Ra Ra Riot
What is the worst song of all time?
C: Rednex, "Cotton Eye Joe" or Meat Loaf, "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)"
J: Aqua, "Barbie Girl"
Open mic, final thoughts:
C: I think you covered it, thanks for the feature!
J: Yeah, what she said. ;-)