Today we have the final sponsored post of the year, and I could not think of a better note to end 2011′s discussion of vendors and conscious consuming. Today we have a post from Kelly Prizel Photography (in Connecticut, New York City, and the Tri-State Area… and more). She’s a long time APW sponsor, and she is a deeply talented small business owner and photographer. Kelly is such a kick ass reflection of every single APW value. (Mandatory reading: her post on philosophy where she says, “The reason I started in this industry was because I had something to say. Namely, ‘Where are the f*cking gay people? Where are the people of color? Where are the rip-your-heart-out emotionally gorgeous weddings minus the trendy hipster-gear? Where are the over-size-two people?’”) But today’s post is about more than Kelly Prizel Photography. It’s actually a must-read post for everyone. It’s about how her wife helped her survive a hospitalization earlier this year. It’s about why she decided to work with her wife. It’s about partnership, and of course it’s about why she loves working with APW-ers (and why we here at APW deeply, deeply love Kelly). And, on top of all that, meet me at the bottom of the post for a special APW only Kelly Prizel Photography deal. Now Kelly, take us out… last sponsored post for 2011… hit it.
So, most of you all know me from, well, a million places—here & here, each of these weddings, and this post on choosing gay babies. You may also know me as the founder of So You’re EnGAYged. But I’ve never been a one-woman show, and I want to use this opportunity to talk about being a wife-wife photo team. We may be the only one (like Tigger!).
When I finished art school and decided to open my wedding photography studio, my wife Natalie had already been around for a while. A long while, in fact, since we met when we were 17. At first, she was just the little left-brain voice inside my head making sure I was juggling all my paperwork and remembering to eat lunch (because when I’m editing, seriously, I forget). But this year, she’s become something more.
I’ve been training her for years now to be my second-shooter. Poor thing has seen more contact sheets than most art school kids, and she knows my aesthetic through and through. But she’s also a busy lady in her own right: she’s getting a PhD in English at Yale. (If you want to ask us about bonnets, please do. She’s a Victorianist.) So we were waiting for the right time to make it official. And this season, it felt right to have her, not as a third shooter, but as my primary second-shooter.
You know what? I love working with my wife on wedding days. I love when one of my couples reads an obscure poem that we read at our wedding and making eye contact with her across the room…. and then my promptly sobbing (she’s more composed than I am). I love knowing the person working next to me 100% gets me and supports me as an artist. Having Natalie there makes shooting a wedding a dream because I can communicate wordlessly with her, and I know we’re both looking at the same things. Natalie frees me up because I know she’s thinking about how I would shoot, and allowing me to be more creative than I ever have been. It’s also nice to spend an occasional weekend with her, even if we’re sweating on the dance floor (and not because we’re getting down).
But the real reason I’ve been thinking about what it means to be a wife-wife team this year is because I got really really sick this fall. In-the-hospital-getting-blood-transfusions-nothing-per-orum-waiting-for-emergency-surgery sick. It was a long time coming, and I spent several months shooting through the sickness before the hospitalization. I went into the hospital the night before Natalie’s comprehensive PhD exams. I kicked her ass out long enough to take the exam, but she stayed with me the whole time on this little foam couch thing. She helped me brush my teeth when I didn’t even have the strength to lift my arm. She was answering my cell-phone and talking to clients from the hospital room, and amazingly, she managed to remember all the little details of their weddings, just from living with me and hearing me talk about my amazing couples incessantly. And at that point, I knew she’d become integrated into my business so much that it was clear she was perfect. We were a wife-wife team. She wasn’t just “helping out” anymore. She was shooting photos that were making my mouth water, allowing me to shoot photos that I never could without knowing she had my back, and she was driving me home at the end of the night to snuggle with our surplus of pets.
While I’m very glad that I have an awesome wife, why should you give a fig? Because it means I can be more creative and more deliberate. You might not notice because I’ll still be running around like a ninja at your wedding. But I’m better able to pause, even if just for a nanosecond, and make that fine adjustment that differentiates a great photo from a knock-your-socks-off photo. My APW clients are amazing in that they give me a tremendous amount of creative freedom, and I love that we can collaborate to create aesthetically-interesting, quirky, and emotional stories about love.
A wedding photographer is many things: a photojournalist, fashion photographer, food photographer, cat-herder, etc. But now, Natalie is there to help me be all those things, which gives me more time to be what I want to be, and what you hired me to be: an artist.
Now you know why we love Kelly Prizel Photography. Her amazing outlook, her killer philosophy, and her absolutely blinding talent. But! It gets better. Because she wants to work with You In Particular, her photography prices are super reasonable. Her wedding packages start at $2800. She offers a photobooth (favorite prop, I sh*t you not, is a whip) for $350. Portraits are $450 are good for, “engagements, rock-the-dress/suit/pajamas/Wonder Woman costume sessions, family sessions, and photos of your human and/or furry babies.” Plus, she told me, “Any APW couple that books me for 2012 gets a complimentary Rock The Dress/Suit session. Because I want to play with my APW couples forever.” So go! Browse! Play with Kelly!
And with that, thanks for a wonderful, wonderful 2011, sponsors and readers. You guys make such amazing music together.