How did you get into photography? Are you self taught or formally trained?
A little bit of both. I began with classes in high school still in the days of film cameras (aging myself there) and eventually went to Temple University for Film & Media Arts. Learning to shoot weddings, however, was something no amount of schooling could really prepare me for. Before shooting my first wedding on my own, I got my hands on any piece of information I could find—Youtube videos, books, emailing other photographers, etc.
How did you get into wedding photography specifically?
I was kind of thrown into it by friends of friends who liked my photos on Facebook. They asked me to photograph their wedding and it all snow-balled from there.
Describe your style in one sentence.
Oh man. This is always tough since I try to adapt to each couple, but you could say my style is vibrant, modern photography with a mix of tradition.
What’s been your favorite experience as a wedding photographer?
Running into couples after the fact and hearing how much their images mean to them. It is instant water works and incredibly gratifying.
What do you love most about photographing weddings? Why do you photograph weddings in particular?
I know this may sound a little cliche, but being able to interact with people on one of the happiest days of their lives is AMAZING. It really is. I’ll get back home from a wedding and won’t go to sleep until 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning because I’m on such a high of excitement for the couple (and I immediately start to back up all the images). I’d also be lying if I didn’t mention the money involved. It’s a platform where I am able to make a living off of taking pictures (seriously, if you think about that, it’s crazy) which is pretty difficult to achieve in any other field of the medium.
Where is the most interesting or unique place you’ve photographed a wedding? Was there anything especially challenging about it?
Since about 75% of my weddings occur within three hours of central PA, getting to photograph a wedding on the beach in Puerto Rico or on a sailboat in Watkins Glen are pretty high up there. Any time you photograph on the beach there’s always light bouncing all over the place. From the sand or the water, it’s just light reflecting everywhere! Being on a boat for a ceremony kinda speaks for itself. Trying to get different angles while also trying not to fall overboard was quite the show.
Do you have a favorite, must-capture moment for every wedding?
I love after the recessional when all the bridal party and family catch up with the newly married couple. It’s such a great moment to just capture candidly and there’s usually a full range of emotions.
What’s the most unique photo you’ve ever taken at a wedding?
Just from this past wedding season, I photographed a couple completing a mad lib during their ceremony. They loved games so their officiant (the groom’s brother) surprised everyone by making a poster sized mad lib and making the couple fill it out. I also had the honor of photographing a bride’s grandmother who was 106 years old.
What’s the best thing you’ve ever eaten at a wedding?
A whole Cornish game hen. The portion was absolutely ridiculous and the staff was fully prepared with to-go containers which I took full advantage of.
As a photographer, what has been your biggest wedding day challenge?
Lighting is always the biggest challenge. Especially when you live in central PA and barn weddings are the new ‘thing’. Yes, they are pretty but barns tend to have little natural light and the color cast from all the wood is sometimes a little cringe worthy.
What piece of advice would you give brides and grooms to ensure that they get wedding photos they love forever?
Meet with the photographer before you book them! Even if it’s through Skype or FaceTime. The one person who will spend the most time with you on your wedding day is the photographer so why wouldn’t you want someone you connect with?
What are your favorite wedding trends to photograph right now?
I still get pretty excited anytime someone plans to have a sparkler send-off. It’s a fun way to end the night and usually provides some epic photo opportunities. Plus who doesn’t like to play with fireworks?
What piece of advice would you give to wedding guests who want to take better pictures at weddings they attend?
For the most part, leaving the photos to the professionals is always a plus. But if you have to snap some of your own photos wait for moments no one else might be capturing. If you see everyone and their mom (literally, their mom) out with their phones taking pictures odds are you’re not going to capture anything new. Wait for something the couple might appreciate, such as a little detail or someones reaction at your table to the toasts.
If you were planning your wedding all over again, what would you do differently?
Instead of picking the date first and then hiring vendors based off their availability, I definitely would have gone to the vendors first and tried to coordinate a date that would have worked with everyone we wanted to work with.
How do you think an app like Joy can help make weddings better?
Having a platform to RSVP, share photos in a timeline, and communicate with your guests easily and efficiently is pure genius. Why didn’t I think of that?!
Last but not least: If you weren’t a wedding photographer, what would you be doing?
I would probably be surrounded by sharks as either part of a dive crew or some marine biology team… or trying to be an actor.