Gabriel Harber of Harber Photography in Oakland, California, holds the title of only APW advertiser who I’ve been friends with for more than a decade. I’ve know Gabriel since I was 21 (no, wait, as I’m typing that I’m realizing that I’ve known him since I was at least 19). He’s been an unbelievably talented photographer for as long as I’ve known him, but when I met him, neither of us had much to do with weddings. So, after the past few years, it’s been a real joy to work with him on APW and see him shoot tons of your weddings (with oh my god, such gorgeous results).
But this year has been a particular treat for me as I’ve watched Gabriel and other San Francisco area APW sponsors work together. Elizabeth Clayton of Lowe House Events now recommends him to all of her clients (we concur that he is funny, laid back, and phenomenally gifted).
I love Gabriel’s work so much, that for my mom’s 60th birthday this year, she got one of his art prints. (Gabriel matted and framed it for her and sent it with a note as a surprise, how sweet is that?) My parents are currently fighting over where to hang it, since my Dad says, “It’s too nice to be where everyone can’t see it all the time.” And if you have Harber Photography shoot your wedding, you’ll have a billion and one prints that you’ll be fighting over where to hang.
His work has the piercing clarity, and the grasp of composition, moments, and emotion, of someone who started out as a fine art photographer. But more than that, Harber Photography shoots dance parties, and men, better than almost anyone. So many wedding photographers have a quirky femininity to their work that it’s delightful to see someone with a slightly more no-nonsense masculine vibe.
And holy cr*ap you guys, his body of work. I had a hard time editing this post because I wanted to include All The Pictures, since each one was better than the last. And you can’t ask for better than that from a wedding photographer.
And then there is Gabriel himself who’s the kind of person you want to hang out with. I asked him to relay things that he thinks are important about wedding photography, and he told me:
- True happiness shines through. It is your wedding, do what you want, and make it what you want. I will be there to capture all the fun and beauty that comes from that. Keep it real.
- I tell people that I hope their wedding day is not the best day of their lives. Take a load off, have fun, it will be great. If it is the best day, that means that every day will pale in comparison. And I hope it is a figgin’ great day.
- If you want pictures that have beautiful sexy natural light, consider the time of day and the lighting at your venue. I am always happy to talk to people about lighting.
- Feed your photographer—a fed photographer makes for better pics. (Editors note: Seriously. Yes. Talk to your caterer about treating your wedding elves right.)
- Don’t be afraid to voice ideas that you think are bad—sometimes ideas that you might think are bad turn out to be great.
- I try to challenge myself to see things from different perspectives, to try things that might seem like extra work, and to make great pictures even when I am hungry and the lighting is a bear.
- APW couples tend to be sane, fun, and generally great people. I like them.