How did you get into photography? Are you self-taught or formally trained?
I was the kind of kid who dabbled in all kinds of artistic endeavors. I painted, I did sculpture work, I wrote poems and short stories. I was a dancer and an actor and I photographed friends and family. Any kind of artists expression I gravitated to. I dabbled in it all but photography, being able to capture precisely the way you see and experience something and translate it for another person, always spoke to me rather loudly. I worked for Lifetouch National School Studios for about a year before attending NYU for college and I fell in love with the experience of capturing these lovely smiling energetic faces. They asked me to be their school candids photographer, typically a job reserved for more senior photographers and I got the itch. I went back to NYU and got my degree and got a job with a local Wedding Photography studio answering phones and making appointments for them. But I kept my eyes open and I volunteered for every opportunity to work with our best photographers. They took me under their wing and trained me on the camera and on OCF work and on graphic design and utilizing Lightroom and Photoshop. I bought all of the books and I studied in my free time and then I rose up to the point where I was the top requested Second Shooter for them, I was the Photo Manager for the entire studio, lead Sales Representative, Lead Graphic Designer, and Album Coordinator. I received hands-on training in Photography, Retouch Artistry, Graphic Design and the business and sales end of the business. Then I got married and my husband and I decided that raising a family in New York simply wasn’t for us so we moved down here to Virginia where I was born and raised and I had two beautiful babies and then started my own Photography and Design Studio that I run out of my house called DesignsbyBritt and I have never looked back.
Describe your style in one sentence.
I find beauty in the everyday moments.
What’s been your favorite experience as a wedding photographer?
My favorite experience as a wedding photographer is capturing that one photo of a girl who never really thought of herself as beautiful but she looks at my image and sees finally for the first time just how amazingly stunning she really is! This has happened hundreds of times now over the span of my career.
What do you love most about photographing weddings? Why do you photograph weddings in particular?
I am an emotional and passionate individual and I love, love. I love the celebration of love and getting to spend the best moments of people’s lives with them. That is why I love photographing weddings as there is no grander time in one’s life and I get the humble honor of being there to capture it for them.
Where is the most interesting or unique place you’ve photographed a wedding? Was there anything especially challenging about it?
Weddings in Long Island New York most often are done at these Huge Catering Halls where they service numerous weddings at one time and as the photographer was often difficult to discern whether you were photographing the right group for your wedding party. Down here in Virginia weddings are more unique and personalized and are going on in all kinds of unique venues and I just love that! I believe a wedding should be an entirely unique expression of the couples love and what I love the most about this experience is discovering that unique love that exists between my bride and grooms and telling that story through images for them. No one’s wedding pictures should look exactly like someone else’s and that is part of the fun that I experience doing weddings is ensuring they are all unique and beautiful just like the couple’s love.
Do you have a favorite, must-capture moment for every wedding?
My favorite moment of the entire day is that moment that they put the rings on each other’s fingers and say you are mine and I am yours. I love being able to pull out my zoom lens and really focus in on their hands as they hold each other and place the ring as a symbol of their love. I do ensure that I get this particular moment every time and I just love how each couple holds each others hands slightly differently and even though you can’t see their faces I can always tell which is from which couple because their particular dynamic shines through even in such a small way like how they hold each other’s hand.
As a photographer, what has been your biggest wedding day challenge?
My biggest wedding day challenge really is that challenging middle ground of ensuring the couple gets the images that they love but also ensuring that pictures don’t drag on throwing off the day or even just beyond the patience of the bride and groom. Having shot weddings and edited weddings for as many years as I have I have often a repertoire of hundreds if not thousands of different beautiful shots in my head to execute but if I see that my bride or my groom are hitting their limit or their wall, which is what I call it, I know I need to wrap up regardless of how long I can continue to go. Because lets face it, I do this all the time but the bride and groom it will be their first time of experiencing a camera following them around all day and that can be taxing on some so the most difficult job I have is to be doing my thing but also read the room and get a feel for when they are ready to stop before they get to that point.
What piece of advice would you give brides and grooms to ensure that they get wedding photos they love forever? (This can include tips about preparation, choosing a photographer, or anything else.)
The greatest piece of advice I can give to a couple planning their wedding is to do what feels right for you. There are a lot of people that will tell you what you need to do and what you should do, including your own friends and family and don’t get me wrong they mean well but they aren’t you, you should always follow your own heart. If you do this then you will enjoy your wedding and all of the other guests will follow suit. In my experience, the attitude of the bride is the biggest indicator of how her guests will feel and experience the event. If she is unhappy and irritated they will be tense but if she goes with the flow and knows she is marrying the love of her life and that is all that really matters then everyone will have a blast and remember the night fondly.
What are your favorite wedding trends to photograph right now?
Honestly, I don’t follow the trends. I have been doing this for 18 years now and I have experienced many trends, they come and they go. The things that really stay, the things that will stand the test of time, are never usually what’s “trending.” Authenticity and emotion, that’s what guides me always.
How do you think an app like Joy can help make weddings better?
In my experience, wedding planning is overwhelming and often I book my brides based not just off my experience as a photographer but my extensive experience in all things wedding. They love that I am a sounding board for them when they aren’t sure about an idea! I get questions about makeup and hair and coordinated dances and the number of people for a bridal party, etc. You name it I have probably been asked it. Having a resource that you can go to guide you through this process can be invaluable.
If you weren’t a wedding photographer, what would you be doing?
What I love about my job is that it lets me be all kinds of creative things. I write a blog on my website so I am a writer. I do live videos and create videos to advertise my site, so I get to be an actor. This job allows me to be so many of the things that I once wanted to be as a kid and hey I get to do them all! I would not want to do anything else with my life!
At Joy we believe that even though a wedding lasts a day, joy lasts forever. What does that mean to you?
Your wedding day should absolutely be one of the most important days in your life to you, yes. But, it should not be the most important day of your entire life. Your marriage is what matters most. You will have days when you welcome a child or get that promotion for that dream job you’ve worked your entire life for. These are the most valuable moments in one’s life so focus on the fact that you are marrying the person you love most in the world and all will come into place from there.