How did you get into photography? Are you self-taught or formally trained?
Both. I went to film school at Brooks Institute of Photography and learned cinematography and photography. I love learning and have continued my education on my own to develop my own style.
Describe your style in one sentence.
Bright, airy and joyful images filled with genuine smiles, laughter, and romance.
What’s been your favorite experience as a wedding photographer?
Pretty much every wedding has that one moment where the bride and groom seem to be completely alone and in their own world, just the two of them. As a wedding photographer, it’s my job to watch for these moments and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Being able to witness that magical moment where they are truly connected and their love just glows is my favorite thing. It’s truly magical and makes me appreciate my husband so much more!
What do you love most about photographing weddings? Why do you photograph weddings in particular?
When I photograph a wedding, I can feel that I am part of something greater. As a photographer, I love weddings because they give me a chance to use all of the skills to capture each perfect image from details to portraits to candids. As a person, weddings make me appreciate all the blessings in my own life. They help me remember that love really is the only thing that matters in life. I photograph weddings for my brides to capture beautiful artistic images that capture their day, but it’s also a personal thing for me.
Where is the most interesting or unique place you’ve photographed a wedding? Was there anything especially challenging about it?
There are only a few locations I photograph at all the time. The rest are new and each presents its own challenges. The one wedding that sticks out in my mind the most is a wedding at 5 Pine Resort in Sisters, Oregon, a place we photography at all the time. It should have been an easy wedding and we had everything perfectly planned with our couple. The day before the wedding it snowed 4 feet. It limited what we could do for sure! We only had the parking lot of the small church to take all the photos of the wedding party, family and bride and groom. Luckily we knew how to make it work and the photos were so much fun to take in the deep snow! It wasn’t a very unique place, but the weather sure made it special.
Do you have a favorite, must-capture moment for every wedding?
One of my favorite images is capturing the bride and groom when we are all done with their romantic portraits. There is no pressure and all they have to do is relax. Right at that moment is when they look at each other with the real “I’m so in love with your look” that only they can give. That’s my must-have moment for every wedding.
As a photographer, what has been your biggest wedding day challenge?
When my best friend got married, she asked me to be her photographer. It was so unbearably hot on her wedding day that she told me she wanted to skip the bride and groom photos and go straight to cooling off. No one has ever said this to me before so I honestly didn’t know how to react. Of all the photos, I knew those would be the ones they would hang in their homes to remember their day. So after trying to convince her to take 10 minutes for photos and having her mom chime in with me, we went and took a handful of photos of her with her new husband. She thanked me after the wedding and said she was so grateful for those beautiful images.
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 most important thing is to have a photographer who feels more like a friend than another vendor. A photographer like that will care about the things you care about and will instinctively know what to photograph and how to help you throughout your day. I’d also suggest getting a photographer who has a lot of experience with weddings and who knows how to act as a wedding coordinator too (often this becomes the photographer’s job since they really are the ones keeping the schedule). Lastly, do a photo shoot with your photographer before the wedding day. I offer free engagement sessions because I know that the engagement session can completely change their wedding images. Not only does the engagement session allow me to see how my couple interacts with each other, it also shows me which images are the very best to capture of my couple on their wedding day, gives me time to get to know them better and gives them a chance to see what I am capturing so they know without a doubt that they can trust me on their wedding day. Once the day comes, they are no longer thinking about the photos and can simply be focused on each other.
What are your favorite wedding trends to photograph right now?
Honestly, I’m not a big trends person. I like to photograph the things that tell who the couple is and are unique to them, whatever that might be. I will say that I always love a beautifully designed grazing table and casual places for guests to hang out. I love capturing candid images of people enjoying their time with one another and little areas where they can relax make for the best candids.
How do you think an app like Joy can help make weddings better?
Wedding planning in today’s busy world is something done on the go. It’s great to have a hub for the important things, like sending save-the-dates and getting guests to actually RSVP on time. I think it’s also great that so many elements can be customized to really show off the couple’s style.
If you weren’t a wedding photographer, what would you be doing?
When I’m not photographing weddings you’ll find me photographing family portraits and styled work portraits. I love documenting who people are and capturing portraits that help them feel beautiful.
At Joy we believe that even though a wedding lasts a day, joy lasts forever. What does that mean to you?
Joy is what’s at the heart of marriage. It’s the underlying unconditional love that gets you through good times and bad. I believe a marriage is meant to last forever. Even in hard times when it seems like love is far away, if you can hold onto those little moments of happiness, then joy can found no matter what.