How did you get into photography? Are you self-taught or formally trained?
Following college, I moved to Peru to do work for an NGO. Before leaving, I bought a Minolta SRT-200 film camera. During my time living in Lima, I took about a roll of film per week, honing my skill, but mostly using the camera as an excuse to talk to people and hear their stories throughout the country. When I moved back to Seattle, I was the guy with a camera for a few years until my friends started asking me to photograph their wedding. From there, it just kept growing and teaching myself until I was able to quit my day job and photograph weddings full time.
Describe your style in one sentence.
Emotional and epic photos that celebrate the joy, relationship, and adventure.
What’s been your favorite experience as a wedding photographer?
I was photographing a dance party of a wedding, following the bride and groom as they danced across the floor. He looked at his watch and then leaned into her, saying that they needed to get ready to head out. She looked back with surprise, shouting “already?” I loved that I got to experience how lost in the joy of her wedding that she completely lost track of time and was dumbfounded that it was coming to an end. It was the perfect example of a wedding that had been filled with all the people and activities that they loved most, celebrating each moment along the way.
What do you love most about photographing weddings? Why do you photograph weddings in particular?
I love that weddings are so full of meaning. There are so many moments throughout a day that represent this bridge from what was, and into what will be. Then, to see how couples fill that day with the moments, people, and celebrations that mean the most to them. I photograph weddings because I love making those moments last forever.
Where is the most interesting or unique place you’ve photographed a wedding? Was there anything especially challenging about it?
I once photographed a wedding that was held in the middle of a pine tree grove after sunset that was candlelit and the couple asked that I not use flash. They wanted their whole wedding day to build up to their vows, not be something to get over before it was time to party. It was pretty hard to keep still enough to see the couple making their vows, surrounded by their friends.
Do you have a favorite, must-capture moment for every wedding?
All the raw moments. You never know when they will happen, but you have to be ready for the second that someone looks up with red eyes or soft handholds. It’s the fleeting moments of connection that remind you of how real and raw this day is.
As a photographer, what has been your biggest wedding day challenge?
Predicting sunsets. I absolutely love sunset photos. It’s beautiful and the light is wonderful, but it’s also a great time to get out of the chaos of a wedding day. But, there are many days when it’s hard to find that perfect 15-minute window that fits with the schedule of the reception, capitalizes on the best light and makes sure everyone is back for whatever is next.
What piece of advice would you give brides and grooms to ensure that they get wedding photos they love forever?
Ask yourself, ‘what would I do if our wedding wasn’t being photographed?’ and use that as a baseline to pick out the activities that you want to do on your wedding day. That helps you find the things that actually matter to you. With that knowledge, we can add photos back in, but it will be full of moments that are worth being photographed.
What are your favorite wedding trends to photograph right now?
Really celebrating the world around you. I love living in the PNW and that I get to spend time in the mountains. I love that couples want to not just go stand in the most Instagrammed spots, but who really want to take that to the next level and celebrate the beauty of nature.
How do you think an app like Joy can help make weddings better?
Anything you can do to streamline the work of a wedding will make you more excited to do it. Wedding prep shouldn’t be a chore and a tool like this lets you spend less time on the parts that don’t give you joy.
If you weren’t a wedding photographer, what would you be doing?
I would be a field worker for an international NGO or I’d be home with my daughter all day.
At Joy we believe that even though a wedding lasts a day, joy lasts forever. What does that mean to you?
Weddings are a bridge. It is a visible and sometimes very prominent feature in the journey of life, but it’s just a piece of that path of life that you want to fill with everyone closest to you.