We recently had Ty Swartz Photography join us on the site. Ty is based out of Jacksonville, Florida, and agreed to answer a few of our questions so you could get to know him in case you happen to be in the market for a wedding photographer:

Tell us a bit about yourself:
I started shooting weddings when I was 16 years old and trained with a Master of Photography before joining the Navy in 1991 as a photographer.  2011 is a special year for me because I have completed 20 years on active duty as a photographer and now my family has settled in Saint Marys, GA and opened Ty Swartz Photography.  I am excited to follow my dreams and photograph couples having fun and falling deeper into love with
each other.

white fire truck wedding winter barn photo

Why did you choose to become a photographer? From the first moment I picked up a camera in 1978 I was hooked and dressed up each of the family pets and posed them and tortured my brothers and sister to pose while I took their picture.  The biggest reason I chose photography is because every event is different and challenging.  No wedding is the same and I absolutely love the challenge of capturing those moments of people’s lives that show their passion for each other.

How long have you been a photographer? I turned professional in 1992 after attending the Naval School of Photography in Pensacola, Florida and graduated at the top of the Class as the Honor Graduate.  I have spent the last 20 years discovering people from around the world and getting the needed photos for magazines and newspapers.

How would you classify your style of photography? I am an artistic straight photojournalist that gets the right lighting, exposure and crop while the image is in the camera.  I believe that shooting in this manner opens the doors to creativity and allows me to reduce my workload so I can focus on the really amazing photographs that make people stop, look and think.

couple newlywed kiss dance photo

Who or what are some of your influences on either a personal or professional level? I think the largest influence in my professional experience is being a Naval Photographer.  Our job is to document naval history and the people making that history.  This and an amazing photographer and friend Aaron Ansarov (Legion Photography) taught me about patience and seeing the image and creating the art.  The knowledge and work ethic the Navy instilled allows me to ensure that I take care of my customers and provide them with the best package for the price
as possible.

Do you have any good wedding stories? I have photographed lots of weddings and I always love telling the story about a couple that I photographed in Norfolk, VA in 1997.  They were both Navy and didn’t hire a wedding planner and used the base chapel and found a small place to host the reception.  During our engagement photo session she asked if I had any suggestions for things to do at the reception.  I said that the crowd favorite always seems to be the dollar dance.  When the wedding day came and we were at the reception the DJ proudly announced that the newlyweds were going to have a dollar dance.  Next thing everyone knew was the bride and groom had stripped down to very sexy thong and lingerie.  As the crowd gasp in horror they let everyone know that I helped select the dollar dance.  After the initial shock everyone started to get into the dance and the bride and groom made, what I suppose, more money from that dance than the traditional dollar dance.  From that point on I describe what happens at weddings in greater detail.

What’s your preferred type of camera equipment? I am a Nikon user, mainly because I am a left-hand shooter and when I shoot with the Canon I feel backwards.  Of course all of my Canon friends will gladly tell you that I am just backwards and one day I will catch on.

phonebooth kiss engaged couple photo

What would you recommend for a couple just starting their search for a wedding photographer? Couples need to meet the photographer in person and develop a relationship with the person who is going to document their wedding.  I like to bond with each couple when we shoot the engagement photograph.  It’s a time to see how they respond to you, the camera and flash.  If couples hired photographers based on just one thing that it has to be personality and the relationship that is being established.  They are going to work with the photographer for almost a year and you have to have an open and friendly line of communication.  Professional photographers are pricey so couples need to plan their budget and photographic taste in of photography.  Couples shouldn’t hire a photographer based solely on budget because they might not provide the style and artistic creativity envisioned.  Couples also need to know that they don’t need to buy the biggest and best package available for their budget that covers their engagement, pre-ceremony events, ceremony, formal portraits and the reception.

Any fun personal facts we should know about you? I think that many of my customers enjoy the work that I do and how I make them feel comfortable during our photo sessions.  I always tell the bride and groom before we sign any agreements that they have to be willing to jump into the ocean or climb a tree and have fun.  This day is their day and should be captured for what it is…an exciting event that brings two families together in a celebration of the continuation and merger of families.  And, always smile then crack really bad jokes because that is how you loosen up the too cool for picture guy with the “I’m cool,” look.

close-up kiss couple photo

Anything else to add about yourself, the wedding industry, etc? Wedding photography has changed drastically in the past 20 years.  Most brides and grooms don’t need hundreds of prints of their wedding they want to be able to put pictures in their social media and send to friends and family.  Many ask for CD’s because they want to feel that they have something physical from the photographer.  Each photographer should be providing some type of access to a CD or the ability to send images to social media pages.  Photography should be reasonably priced so people can afford great photographs!

Special Offer: Any bride who hires Ty Swartz Photography for their wedding and mentions SnapKnot will receive $150 in print credit for any package they choose!

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