Tell us a bit about yourself. I went to school for photography and graduated with 5, yes 5, degrees (including one in Spanish, I love speaking Spanish and actually was a Spanish Teacher for a little while), worked in weddings for about five years until in 2008 I started my own company. I was also married to cinematographer Rob Adams (yes, we met at a wedding!) in 2009 and have a little doggie named Tico!
Why did you choose to become a photographer? I just love marriage. I support marriage and love that I get to have such a personal relationship with my clients during one of the most important times in their relationship with each other. It’s incredibly special to me to be a part of that.
How long have you been a photographer? I’ve been studying photography for 15 years now
How would you classify your style of photography? Photojournalistic, casual and romantic
Who or what are some of your influences on either a personal or professional level? My husband. :-) Working together in the wedding industry is such an amazing part of our lives and we constantly inspire each other.
Do you have any good wedding stories? During the first look, when my bride and groom (Mike and Erin) got to see each other for the first time, havoc was happening. Hurricane Sandy was on her way, their outdoor ceremony that they had dreamed of in front of the lake at The Mill was being brought inside, and the possibility of a mandatory evacuation of Spring Lake was looming overhead. But when they saw each other in the midst of that, nothing. else. mattered. It was the sweetest, most emotional and heartfelt first look I have ever experienced, and the rest of the wedding was exactly the same way.
What’s your preferred type of camera equipment? Canon 1D Mark4 with every prime lens (aka the best) that you can imagine!
What would you recommend for a couple just starting their search for a wedding photographer?
1. Make sure that you actually LIKE your photographer! Seems obvious, but you photographer will be one of the only vendors that actually spends the entire day with you. If you don’t like their demeanor, or maybe they just lack that calming presence that most brides need on a wedding day, this isn’t the photographer for you.
2. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Why do some photographers charge $2000 for the a full day package with a wedding album, and some charge $8000? Have you just scored big and found a deal? Probably not. Putting the quality of the actual photography aside (though it is extremely important), think like a business person: your profit is what you charge minus what it costs for the products you’re delivering. So if they’re only charing $2000 for a wedding album package, that means your wedding album probably only cost them ~$250, which means that your wedding album’s quality will most likely only hold up for a couple of years. As opposed to the $8000 photographer, who probably paid closer to $1000 for your wedding album, which is going to last you a lifetime.
3. Go with a photographer that gets you. Go with a photographer that knows you, your style and what you’re looking for from your wedding pictures. If you’re a rustic chic or country vintage style bride, having a punk rock photographer is probably not going to give you the pictures of your dreams. In the same token, if you’re a sexy, edge bride, a photographer whose photos are consistently dreamy and faded is not going to deliver what you’re looking for.
4. Don’t get lost in the shuffle. Most photography studios are based on one of two different business structures, volume or boutique. With volume studios, you’re just 1 of 200 bridesthey’re photographing that year. With boutique studios, you’re 1 of about 30 weddings they’ll be a part of that year. It’s not that you have to be best-ies, or even hang out with them ever again, but boutique studios can give you the specialized attention you’re looking for over volume studios in general.
5. Experienced but not burnt out. Finding a photographer who is experienced (has photographed at least 25 weddings on their own as a primary photographer), but not creatively spent from weddings is key. You’ll want a photographer who knows the ins and outs of weddings, who knows how to bustle a dress, or calm down the Mother of the Groom, but you won’t want a photographer that knows all of that, but hates photographing weddings because they’ve shot too many and yours is just standing between them and a margarita.
Anything else to add about yourself, the wedding industry, photography, brides, grooms, etc? My husband and I are leaders in the photography industry and travel all around the world teaching photographers and cinematographers how to better their craft and their businesses. :-)
To see more romantic wedding images, visit Vanessa Joy Photography’s SnapKnot Profile.