Last time I wrote a post about Amanda Summerlin Photography, who works out of Atlanta but shoots your weddings all over the US I wrote about how funny she is. (Local weddings starting rate: $1,700. Lower 48 starting rate $2,600. Obvious conclusion: she has spent the year shooting APW weddings Every. Single. Place.) Because seriously, this woman is hilarious. If you don’t believe me (and I have no idea why you wouldn’t believe me) you should go read her FAQ 1, FAQ 2, and really maybe just start with her FUQ (that’s Frequently Unasked Questions). Also, sidenote, it’s possible that I would hire someone to shoot my wedding just because they were hilarious (cough), but there are actually a lot of even better reasons to hire Amanda, that we will get into (if you believe better reasons exist, which I find debatable).
So today, I also want to write about how Amanda Summerlin Photography has her heart (and values) in the right place, which is just as important as being hilarious. Amanda’s current tag line is, “Hello. My name is Amanda. I make neat pictures (for nice people).” And she really does. Last time she was on APW, Amanda ran a contest giving away photos to the nicest couple she could find. And it turned out that what happened was she unleashed some magic APW community power. Lots of you entered, and you can see some of the entries (and some of the awesome people that read this site, holy moly) here. You can also see the winners here, though Amanda says that in the end, she feels like she was the one that won (aws). This time she just wants to tell you that there will be a follow up, and “it might be fair to warn everyone to start documenting their good deeds.” Game set match, y’all. And in the meantime she says, “Because I love APW readers, I’m offering a 10% discount to any APW reader who books a wedding by October 1.”
Here is the thing. Amanda really, really loves working with APWers. Really. In fact, she’s spent the year shooting so many of your weddings that she was able to teach me about all of you in a totally new way (because I’m just over here behind a laptop, most of the time). Amanda told me this, which actually made me tear up a little: “One of the unexpected side effects of working with APW clients is that I’ve really come to like weddings in a way that I never expected. I look forward to going to APW weddings because I know the people there will be thoughtful and will have created a wedding that reflects their values and their love for each other, their families, and their friends. As a person who’s not allowed to get married, weddings have always been bittersweet for me. In my twenties, when all my straight friends were getting married, I thought weddings were for people who needed to conform. In my thirties, when lots of those people started to divorce, I thought weddings were radical income restructuring schemes. And now, older and wiser and not twenty anymore, I’m watching all of these loving and thoughtful people through the lens of my camera, and I’m seeing people make commitments and mean them. And they mean them because they want to make the promise to love each other forever, and they’ve thought about what that actually means. And I believe these couples will last. I don’t think I believe that because I’m overly sentimental, because that’s not really who I am. I think I believe them because they are the real deal. I think APW readers are the kind of people who make commitments with a true understanding of what they are promising. Which is why I enjoy their weddings so much. Because with so much talk in the air these days about the meaning of marriage, it’s nice to be around people who actually understand the meaning of marriage.” Plus, she says you guys serve really good food and beer at your weddings, and have lots of laughter, which, exactly.
If you guys are like me, and you wonder what other people who read APW look like (I mean, other than their avatars) you need to go scan the APW weddings section on Amanda’s blog. The best part is the crazy diversity. There are formal weddings in Memphis, mixed with backyard wedding in San Francisco, a wedding in the mountains of New Hampshire, and really everything under the sun. And if you’re like me, and you wonder what All The APW Weddings look like, this is an exercise in pure joy.
But let’s talk about Amanda’s style. She has style, and she brings it to your wedding, because she rightly points out, “Your wedding is probably the most important day in your life to date, except for that time you saw Bill Murray buying a diet soda and a pack of gummy bears at the gas station.” Indeed. So I’ll let her put it in her own words: “Making photos at your wedding requires several styles of photography. In a typical wedding day there will be contemporary, photojournalism, portraiture, and traditional posed photos made. In photography, like everything in our lives, there are trends and fashions. Lately you see many wedding photographers applying destructive Photoshop actions (or styles) to irreplaceable wedding photos. I always cringe a little when I see that. Wedding photos are not just for now; they are forever memories for you and future generations of your family. They shouldn’t look dated in five years. They should be timeless. It should be the people and their emotions that stand out in the photo, not the Photoshop manipulations. Does that mean my photos are traditional or boring? Not at all. I’m an artist, and I have a unique vision. I see the things that others overlook and use my camera to point out their beauty to everyone. I don’t need elaborate computer tools for that.” AKA, this is not the kind of photographer who will take a lovely artistically blurred picture where you can’t quite make out your great aunt’s face (which is great and all, but not everyone’s thing).
In short, as I’m sure every APW couple who worked with Amanda Summerlin Photography this year (a bazillion of you) will tell you, with Amanda you get the whole package, hilarity, talent, and kindness. I’ll close with Amanda’s own words, “I’m working to be more deliberate in my approach to photography; to capture more emotion and create more art in every wedding, while still maintaining my sense of humor and timing.” Right? I’d say have fun together, but that part is so obvious.