How did you get into photography? Are you self-taught or formally trained?
I actually went to college for photojournalism. I know, it’s rare these days! Prior to weddings, I worked as a staff photographer for a number of midsize newspapers in Ohio, Michigan, Maryland, and California. I landed In Seattle in 2006 and started my wedding photography business! All I have ever done for a living is photography.
Describe your style in one sentence.
Modern, documentary and engaged in each moment.
What’s been your favorite experience as a wedding photographer?
Photography has been my life! It’s fun to step back for a second and reflect on all that it has done for me and all of the people I have met, and experiences I have witnessed on this journey. It’s profound to think about how many couples have chosen me to witness their celebrations of love. I remember one wedding tucked away in the mountains at a summer camp where the bride had spent time as a child. Guests camped and spent a few days celebrating with them in the quiet of nature. In the evenings we gathered around campfires, guests sang songs and we were surrounded by joy. It was truly epic in its simplicity.
What do you love most about photographing weddings?
Being around happiness. I’m wonderfully fortunate to spend my time photographing people at their best. It’s also great to see how my pictures are cherished. I really appreciate how important my work is to couples.
Why do you photograph weddings in particular?
I am fascinated by authenticity and realness. Weddings are a great opportunity to work with couples who want images that show them being themselves. I love to attempt to photograph couples in the same way they see each other. I think it is that search for truth and authenticity in photography that keeps me striving to capture more and more authentic images.
Where is the most interesting or unique place you’ve photographed a wedding? Was there anything especially challenging about it?
So many places come to mind! My first thought is of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico! It is so beautifully different than Seattle. Destination weddings are some of my favorites! We did a day-after session to photograph the couple adventuring around Old San Juan, and oh wow did it rain! Getting in the shower would have been a break from this downpour! I have never felt anything like it. But luckily it was short-lived and the sun came out just in time.
Do you have a favorite, must-capture moment for every wedding?
Hehe, this is a great question! And I think it points to the reality of life and photography. That must-capture moment is unique and one of a kind for every wedding. As a photographer, it’s my job to put my preconceived ideas aside and be present and aware so I can capture each unique and fleeting moment in a beautiful way.
As a photographer, what has been your biggest wedding day challenge?
Weddings can have a lot of expectations and pressure around them. I get the best pictures when my subjects are happy, relaxed and fully living their wedding days! But, there is a lot that pulls us in many different directions at weddings. I think my biggest challenge is to do what I can to help guide couples from stressful states of mind back to living the wedding they have dreamed about. Many people do a great job of this on their own, but a little gentle guidance is usually a nice thing. That way they have the best wedding possible and I get the best pictures.
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.)
There is a lot I could say here! First off, choose a great photographer. Make sure that you look through a complete wedding, not just their favorite highlights. Find someone you really trust! After that, let go of control. I will capture the best moments if you are in it! If you are living your wedding day and feeling the feels. It is best for your experience and it is also best for pictures. It works best to capture moments that are actually happening, real and authentic. That way you will be reminded of how you were feeling when you look at the photo, not of what you pretended to feel for a picture.
What are your favorite wedding trends to photograph right now?
Mountain Adventure engagement sessions! I grew up backpacking and hiking in the mountains. Now, I love to adventure to the mountains around Seattle to capture adventure engagement sessions of my couples. Think of it as a rad date with your best friend and you just happen to have a photographer along!
How do you think an app like Joy can help make weddings better?
Communication! Everyone loves love, so any way to better share that with friends and family is a great thing!
If you weren’t a wedding photographer, what would you be doing?
This might be the only question I have a hard time answering! I have been a photographer my entire adult life so it’s hard to imagine anything else. Years back I thought about working as a woodland firefighter or on a CCC trail crew in the backcountry. Something outside for sure!
At Joy we believe that even though a wedding lasts a day, joy lasts forever. What does that mean to you?
I think that is precisely why photography is important and why people get married! I think choosing a life of joy is an active choice. I mean we have to choose not to be grumpy about the stuff in life we don’t like. We have to choose to cultivate joy. That is what love is.