How did you get into photography? Are you self-taught or formally trained?
I received my Bachelors of Science with a concentration in Photography in ’09 from Illinois State University. I also worked with another photographer during my time in school learning more about equipment, the business side of things, and gaining experience.
Describe your style in one sentence.
A balance of timeless and modern.
What’s been your favorite experience as a wedding photographer?
Traveling! Love the variety of backgrounds and locations throughout the states and worldwide.
What do you love most about photographing weddings? Why do you photograph weddings in particular?
The air of anticipation throughout the day is such a high. These couples have planned, usually for a year or more, and the day is finally here! The excitement is contagious. I also love the unpredictability of the day- surprises, emotions, oopsie daisies, everything!
Where is the most interesting or unique place you’ve photographed a wedding? Was there anything especially challenging about it?
There’s so many! Historic southern charm South Carolina, dreamy Ireland, music city Nashville, big city Chicago, South Florida Latin flair… etc. One wedding that was quite unique was in Las Vegas. I would say a typical wedding day runs from about 11:30am-8:30pm, give or take. We usually arrive when the bride is just about done with hair and makeup, and leave the reception about an hour after the first dances (so well-rounded coverage). This couple in Vegas got ready on the Las Vegas Strip at 5pm (yes, the day started then), and limos escorted us to a grove outside of the city with a mountain view. The wedding was outdoors at sunset, enchanting cafe lights were strung in the trees. We shut down the reception at 11:30pm, jumped on a charter bus with all the guests and couple, and headed to Fremont Street (old Vegas). We did all the wedding party and couple photos from about 12am-2am. It was crazy fun and amazing! I absolutely cannot get enough of shooting at night… and in Vegas with all the lights and people?! Perfection.
Do you have a favorite, must-capture moment for every wedding?
I love capturing the emotions of the day. The father/daughter first look, the groom watching the bride walk down the aisle, the couple looking at each other while sharing their vows, the parents looking at their children during the ceremony, etc. And a personal favorite is capturing the couple’s and all the guests’ reactions during the toasts, you can’t stage those reactions! And now that I’m talking about it, I had a hard time understanding how I was voted one of the top 10 photographers in the world for capturing emotion/excitement (via ShootandShare.com) but clearly, I live for capturing those genuine, amazing moments! I call it a 6th sense!
As a photographer, what has been your biggest wedding day challenge?
Time… I. always. want. more. time! No matter how things go during the day, I never let my clients see me sweat. We always figure it out. I defuse wedding day stress, not add to it!
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.)
You only walk away from your day with a dress and photos. With that being said, there’s so much truth behind this statement: A modest wedding with an amazing photographer means your day will look like a million bucks. So many couples end up visiting me after their weddings when they had a family friend capture their day. They show me some of their digital files and ask if I can “fix” them (aka, Photoshop overexposed images, sweat, closed eyes, hair out of place, shadows, underexposed photos, or just make them look “professional”). They spent all this money on their day and the photos can’t remotely do it justice! I hate, hate, hateeee, seeing couples heartbroken on something that could have 100% been prevented.
What are your favorite wedding trends to photograph right now?
The un-trend wedding. Unique weddings inspire me! Pinterest is great, but sometimes I feel like I’m having dejavu when weddings all follow the same trends/themes. Do something unique! Make it your own! It’s one of the best days of your life… make it one people will talk about for ages.
How do you think an app like Joy can help make weddings better?
It already has! I love what Joy has done for couples! It is so convenient and informative. The details, customization, registries, invitation options… typically this is a couple’s first wedding they are planning, and Joy helps make it manageable and not so overwhelming.
If you weren’t a wedding photographer, what would you be doing?
Photo retouching/a graphic designer, which I also studied in college and “married” (ha!) to my photography… best of both worlds.
At Joy we believe that even though a wedding lasts a day, joy lasts forever. What does that mean to you?
Two things. The joy of marriage lasts forever even after the actual wedding day. Second, even if I wasn’t a photographer, I’d still relate joy to the images of the big day. Wedding photos are a return ticket to those precious moments. It’s so nice that couples will get revisit that day for decades on decades after they have said their vows. You will never regret choosing a dependable, talented photographer!