*This is a paid post from an APW Sponsor*
by Maddie Eisenhart, Managing Editor
As long as I’ve known her, Amanda Summerlin has always just been the photographer with the best sense of humor around. I mean, sure, Amanda’s got talent coming out her ears, and her rates start at $1,900, and she travels all over the country for free. But forget all that. Because girlfriend is hilarious. In fact, stop what you’re doing right now and go read her FAQs 1, FAQs 2, and FUQs pages right now and then come back when you’re in love with her (don’t worry, it won’t take long. She had me at, “You want a photographer who will take more pictures of your grandmother than the centerpieces,” and, “You know all the words to the marriage ceremony in The Princess Bride.”)
Great. Now that you’re in love with Amanda, let’s get down to brass tacks. Amanda Summerlin is, simply put, the real deal. Her photos are stunning (do you see the emotion? The subtle humor? Those skies?!), and Amanda creates those stunning images with unmatched professionalism and an attitude that lets you know you’re in good hands (because you are). Plus, Amanda Summerlin is not joking about her travel rates (which are, uh, non-existent if you’re in the lower forty-eight). Just take a look at all the places Amanda has shot already! (Blue dots are places Amanda has already shot, and you can see the accompanying blog posts of the weddings if you head over here and click on a location that interests you. Red dots are future weddings. In other words, that’s a lot of dots.)
But for all that Amanda Summerlin is smart, funny, and seriously good at her job, what I really want to talk about today is the heart that Amanda puts into her work, and what it means for her to be able to do that work with the APW community. I’ll let Amanda give it to you in her own words (all I’ll say is you may want to grab a hankie):
For the past three years, I’ve been thrilled to work with the most amazing couples ever, many of whom have come from the APW community. And I have learned about a lot of things along the way. I’ve learned about (in no particular order) home brew, teaching, cotton, geology, soccer, cool stuff to do in my hometown, saguaro cactus, barrier islands, peanut butter and chocolate wedding cake, where the best restaurants are in too many cities to list, off-road driving, the wobble, fishing, wildlife photography, Elvis, zombies, Elvis zombies, and the importance of marriage. That last thing is probably the one I expected least, but the one I needed most (although I was pretty psyched about the peanut butter and chocolate cake).
You see, I never intended to be a wedding photographer. And I didn’t become a wedding photographer because I love weddings. I became a wedding photographer because making portraits and photographs of people is my passion, and there’s no place on earth that gives me more opportunity to make more interesting photos of people than a wedding. For me, there is no greater thrill than making a photo of you and then showing you how beautiful you when you are seen through someone else’s eyes… because if I’m doing my job right, I’m showing you how everyone who loves you really sees you. (Plus, the dance photos are wicked fun to make.)
But a funny thing happened along the way, in that whole “and her heart grew three sizes bigger” way. Spending all those weekends surrounded by couples who were thoughtful and insightful and in love with each other and life, I started to appreciate their ceremonies in a different way. The meaning of a wedding ceremony began to resonate with me more deeply, and I started to understand that marriage was a lot more than a legal contract that conferred 1138 rights to a couple (although I’d still appreciate having those, thankyouverymuch). I realize now that standing up and speaking vows and exchanging rings with the person you choose to spend your life with is an act that connects you to both the past and the future, bringing validation and strength to your relationship from the inside and the outside. So, although the definition of marriage may have changed over the years (ahem), it seems to me that the real meaning of marriage is stronger than ever for many couples.
For these posts, Meg and Maddie always ask why I want to work with APW couples in particular, and this time I have to say from the bottom of my heart, I love to work with APW couples because they keep me grounded and make me a better person and a better partner in my relationship. And because they serve the best beer and food at their receptions.
And that right there is what it’s all about. Because who doesn’t want to work with a photographer so invested in your wedding that it changes her from the inside out? That’s magic. And speaking of magic, because Amanda Summerlin loves y’all (clearly), she is extending her current booking bonus to the end of September. Now anyone who books a wedding with Amanda Summerlin by the end of September can choose between an upgrade of either ten additional album pages or a 16×24 gallery wrap. And a hug. (Well, Amanda says you would have gotten that anyway, but she thought she should mention it.)
So guys, if you’re looking for a no-nonsense photographer who can produce images that look like they came out of a magazine, in the least pretentious way possible, all while making you laugh and feel loved, then Amanda Summerlin is your lady. (Fine, that was a really specific list. But still. It’s an awesome list.) Plus there’s the added bonus of knowing that you’ve changed Amanda’s life for the better and now she’s ready to pay it forward. I’m just excited to see how.