by Meg Keene, APW Executive Editor
When I got pregnant, I knew for sure that I wanted a maternity and newborn photo session. There are some moments in our lives that are so monumental and so fleeting, that they are worth stopping everything to document. And there was not a question in my mind that I wanted Christina Richards, in the Bay Area, to photograph these for me. Christina is, in my opinion, one of the great unsung (well, not sung enough, anyway) talents in wedding photography. If you ask me, she can go head to head with any one of those world-famous-charge-$20K-just-to-show-up-in-Martha-Stewart-Weddings-every-issue photographers. Plus, she shoots with enormous emotion, which makes her better than all those photographers anyway. Christina had shot me in work settings more than once (her photos from my book launch are some of my favorite photos ever), and I knew I loved her fly-on-the-wall style. But it turns out, I didn’t know the half of it.
Before we took my maternity photos, Christina and I chatted, and I mentioned that pregnancy hadn’t been easy for me. While I wanted it documented, I knew that the normal, glowy, pregnancy-is-magic photos were just not going to accurately capture my reality. When Christina showed up, it turned out that she had gone to the library and checked out art books, to look at depictions of pregnant women throughout history, as well as books on family photography over time. Why did she do it? Because she wanted to shoot the best pictures she could for me. She then spent thirty minutes standing in my garden, looking this way and that, to decide exactly the best way to execute the shoot. And if all that wasn’t enough, she was hilarious and kind, the whole time. That, my friends, is an artist dedicated to both their craft and to customer service. The photos, obviously, are amazing.
It’s hard to talk about Christina’s photos, because they so obviously speak for themselves. But I will add that Christina attended Savannah College of Art and Design Photography, and has a fine art background. After that, she spent years of assisting fine art, commercial, and editorial photographers, working on her technical real-world skills. For her, storytelling is the backbone of the work, complemented by humor, color, light, mood, and emotion.
She describes her shooting style this way: “I really enjoy working with natural or available light and photographing weddings in a candid style. The only photographs I will ask people to pose for will be the group and couples portraits. The rest of the day I’m photographing the events and details trying to remain as unobtrusive as possible. I am happiest when I’m able to blend into the background of the day and photograph real moments that tell the story of your wedding.”
As for pricing, Christina could be charging one zillion dollars plus your first born baby, but she’s not. She loves working with APW couples, and her prices reflect that. Plus, this year she decided to work film into all of her packages, and holy moly, is her film work great. Her regular packages range from $4,000–$5,000, and all include the high-res files (and Christina offers you the chance to order professional prints at really affordable prices, which will make you so happy post wedding, trust me on this). But, because she extra super duper loves you guys, she has a special APW-only package, which is $3,500 for six hours of coverage, two rolls of film, and high-res files. She also has no travel fee for Massachusetts and Southern New England (because she likes an excuse to go home). You read that right. You guys can get a $5K photographer for $3,500, just because of her pure love for APW couples.
As for Christina herself, she’s a lady of few words (though lots of smiles), and this is what she told me about herself:
What I love about my job…
Making my clients happy. Listening to toasts and vows (I cry). Thank you notes from clients (and parents).
Why I love APW…
No two couples are alike. All of them create weddings that speak to who they are as individuals and as a couple—the weddings are true to them. I love working with all of my lovely APW clients and I always feel so lucky to have been at their weddings.
It’s this simple: if you have a chance to book Christina Richards for your wedding (or hell, your maternity session or newborn session). You should do it. It will be one of the best decisions you make, on every single level.