We are delighted to introduce you to Erica of EdgeS Photography by Erica Stratton, one of our most recent Wilmington, North Carolina wedding photographers. Read more about Erica’s specialty in unusual wedding photos and how wedding photography “chose her”:

photo, woman, dress, hat

Tell us a bit about yourself. I am the owner and currently sole photographer of EdgeS Photography.  I also work for FotoFX doing Greenscreen photography at the U.S.S. North Carolina, in Wilmington.  It’s not a very glamorous job, but it helps fuel my passion for photography and keeps the bills paid!  As of August I’m attending Cape Fear Community College working towards getting my Associate’s in Fine Arts.  I’m thoroughly enjoying the constant challenge of taking pictures for my photography classes.  For example, I have plans to go camping mid-November so that I can try to get some star trail photos for an extra credit project.

Why did you choose to become a photographer? For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved to take photos.  As a pre-teen and teenager I was the unofficial photographer for my group of friends, using my cute little Kodak Advantix camera to document everything and then printing my photos in triplicate so I could hand copies out to my friends.  I carried my love of photography into adulthood, sometimes annoying my family and friends with my constant desire to photograph them and everything else.

After awhile I met some people who loved photography as much as I did, and began learning about the technical aspects of photography from them, and then independently studying to learn more.  I figured, if I was going to take so many photos, I should do it as well as possible! Soon, friends began approaching me with requests to photograph their weddings and their friends weddings.

To be honest, I never once as a child thought “I want to be a photographer when I grow up”, and never thought about doing it professionally.  Lately, it seems less like I chose to become a photographer, and more like it chose me. As my budding photography business continues to grow I’m just happy to be along for the ride, and honored that people want me to document important moments in their lives.

bride, groom, holding, hands, between, trees

bride, bridesmaids, sitting, beach

bride, groom, laughing, beach

How long have you been a photographer? Hmm.  That’s tough to answer.  I have been a photo enthusiast as long as I can remember, probably since I was eight years old or so. I have been studying photography, and doing photo shoots of friends and family for the past four years or so. I have been working for a Greenscreen photography company for the past two and a half years, and I’ve been doing independent photography work for the last two years. I’ve been operating as EdgeS Photography since May of 2011.

How would you classify your style of photography? This is even harder for me to answer.  I’d love to take the time to poll my friends and peers and see what they have to say about it. I’m hesitant to use adjectives to describe my photography.  The first one that comes to my mind is unusual. One of my photography texts says that there are two styles of photography, Haptic and Visual. Visual photographers present a rather straightforward view of the world with little or no manipulation of the image.  I do not fit under this heading.

Of the two, I’m definitely more of a haptic photographer, and so, from the book…”Haptics break with expectation, ritual and tradition to represent other planes of reality. Their style is more self conscious and conspicuous placing importance on the unfamiliar. They emphasize form, stressing the essential nature. Haptic-Expressionists deploy the camera more flamboyantly, using it to comment on their subject. They make use of digital imaging software to heighten the image’s response, making no qualms about altering a process and/or moving and rearranging a given reality to suit their needs. Often they crop the picture space, preferring a closer more controlled and directed composition.

Haptics relish creating their own mini-universes. They frequently practice post-visualization, considering the digital studio a creative opportunity to carry on their visual research, saturating their images with visual clues and information to direct and lead their viewers around their composition.” – Light and Lens By Robert Hirsch

groomsmen, standing, around, laughing

bride, standing, between, dancing, bridesmaids

bride, groom, dancing, sunset

Who or what are some of your influences on either a personal or professional level? I tend to think about things generally rather than specifically, so for me I can much more easily answer What influences me rather than Who.  I constantly read photography magazines, such as Rangefinder and Popular Photo and get ideas from the images I see there.  I also read a lot of online articles about photography for fun ideas on things to try next.  For example, last month I read an article about zoom burst, and then felt compelled to go out and “play” with the idea.

The only specific photographer so far to make a big enough impression on me for me to remember their name is Clark Little.  I love water, and I’d love to be able to get out into the waves and take pictures of it in such a beautiful setting with as much creativity as he does.

Do you have any good wedding stories? I think the craziest thing to happen so far was at a recent wedding I shot on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  At the reception the first dances took place right beside the pool of the house they rented for the wedding.  As soon as the first dances were over, the bride looks at me on a whim and says “We’re going to trash the dress”.  I looked at her slightly shocked since we hadn’t discussed it beforehand, and said “Ok?”.

She immediately jumped into the pool with her wedding dress on.  I was standing there snapping away getting photos of this amazing moment, and all the while the father of the bride standing beside me is grumbling about a $500 dress being in a chlorinated pool!  Ha.  I was delighted to work with a bride who was so spontaneous and adventurous, but I couldn’t help but feel a little sorry for her Dad.

What’s your preferred type of camera equipment? I know that I’m in the minority on this, but I much prefer Sony cameras.  Thanks to my job with FotoFX I’ve had the opportunity to try both Canon and Nikon cameras, and I think Sony makes it So much easier to interact with the camera.  You can access the settings that you need most much more quickly and easily with a Sony.

wedding, dress, chair

What would you recommend for a couple just starting their search for a wedding photographer? Be patient, and hold out for a photographer whose photos seem in line with Your vision for your wedding photos.  I take photos the way that I do for a reason, because those are the kinds of photos I would want of an important event or person.  When I was searching for a photographer for my own wedding I didn’t think a photographer that photographed the way I like existed, all I could find was very traditional, cookie-cutter photos, everyone standing in a line in the same place, etc.  I promise, someone is out there whose style is exactly what you’re looking for, and I’ve never heard of a photographer who wouldn’t travel to take wedding pictures.  :)

Any fun personal facts we should know about you? Other than photography, my biggest interest is psychology.  I’ve taken as many psychology classes as possible, and believe me that stuff comes in handy when you’re photographing people.  One of my personal sayings is “If you think someone is sane, you just don’t know them well enough yet.”

Anything else to add about yourself, the wedding industry, photography, brides, grooms, etc? I went to a wedding expo last year with one of my friends who was planning a wedding.  I could not believe the prices wedding photographers charge.  Simply outrageous.  I believe that photographs are important, and should be accessible to everyone.  So, I keep my prices reasonable.

bride, groom, kissing, beach

To see more fun, unusual wedding photos, visit EdgeS Photography by Erica Stratton.

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