by Maddie Eisenhart, Managing Editor
Thanks to the support of this incredible community, APW has always been a place where small businesses are able to create magic out of thin air. Many photographers (myself included) have even gotten their start here. But as the site gets bigger, another awesome thing is taking place: seasoned veterans of the wedding industry are setting up shop, happy to finally have a home for their business that fits their values. These sponsors hold a special place in my heart, because many of them have been doing the hard work of making the industry a more comfortable, authentic, meaningful place for couples for years, sometimes even decades. And today I’m thrilled to introduce you guys to veteran photographer Elizabeth Hurley in San Francisco. With more than ten years of shoot weddings under her belt, you might think that she’d be one of those $10,000 wedding photographers who only cares about how to get published in Martha Stewart Magazine. But instead, Elizabeth Hurley is just a ridiculously experienced talent, with more sane weddings under her belt than you could imagine. And guys? She’s so happy to have finally found you.
But before I introduce you to Elizabeth (who goes by Beth and signs her emails with lots of hugs), let’s take a minute to talk about her photos. Because, damn. First of all, they are uniformly stunning, no question about it. Crisp, and full of light and emotion and just stunning. But since Beth got her start in commercial photography, there’s something else at play too, something that makes her images extra special. Beth is a photojournalist by practice, but the way she captures moments is so evocative, it’s almost like looking at a really powerful ad. Except made of things that are real, instead of things that are contrived. Which means that you get knock-you-off-your-feet images like the one below, that tell a whole story in a single moment.
Even though Beth’s work is informed by her education and experience with commercial photography, she’s adamant that when she shoots weddings, it’s for you. Not for blogs, not for Pinterest, but for you and your memories. She told me, “I DO NOT shoot for blogs—whenever I get steered toward focusing on the tiny details of the wedding day (with mega shot lists, rigid schedules, unrealistic expectations and too many demands) instead of the BIG emotion that the day naturally presents—my work suffers. l like to get into the flow of the wedding day, staying present to what is happening at each moment, keeping it new, fresh, spontaneous and not shooting for this blog or that blog, not shooting for this high end planner or this fancy venue. I want to shoot for you and your family and your memories. I want to shoot for that image that you will love for years to come, that embodies the day and all of the love and hope that went into it. I love taking pictures and I love taking pictures at weddings. Throughout my 10 years as a professional photographer, I have come to realize that I work most seamlessly with couples who share my aesthetic and philosophy. I believe that keeping the focus on what is truly important about this celebration trumps all else.”
And here’s the reason I love this so much: when you’re shooting a wedding, you don’t have unlimited time. Every second you’re making a choice about which shot matters more. And often, when you’re focusing on all the details, you can miss the moments happening all around you. And with Elizabeth Hurley Photography, you know you’re going to end up with the photos that matter.
Beth is equally passionate about small business-ownership, and uses the her photography business as a platform for working with other female-owned small businesses, and giving back to her local community. She explained to me, “I started my business out of my love of taking pictures and my desire to work for myself which has always been a family value! I came to wedding photography VIA commercial photography, as a way to stay local and and grown my business in a sustainable manner—as opposed to agents and tons of travel and the crazy busy demands of the advertising photography world, which I was already delving into. This was years ago—before the wedding industry mushroomed into the inflated wedding industrial complex that is is today (my fingers are crossed that it swings back in the other direction as most things do!) To that end, right now I am super jazzed about a new creative collective that I recently became part of. It is a group of amazingly talented and creative women who share a studio space and vision—all collaborating together. This has seamlessly led to me shooting for a bunch of amazing local brands—mostly textiles and products from around the world—and I am just thrilled to be working with some many female owned and operated small businesses, with an ethical and sustainable edge! Creativity with a conscious!”
So now you’re probably thinking: cool, she’s been shooting for ten years and she’s got a commercial background, and a freaking shared studio space, so I definitely can’t afford to hire Elizabeth Hurley for my wedding because she obviously costs a zillion dollars. And you would be incorrect. Beth told me, “I firmly believe that everyone deserves lovely and beautiful images of their wedding day and I do not think that money should be a prohibitive factor with working with me, so I offer a wide scale of prices ranging from $2200 to $4000. In doing so I always ensure that I get to work with the couples that I love and that they in turn get great photography according to their unique budget. I hope to offer something for everyone!” Plus, if you’re getting married between January 2014 and May 2014, Beth is extending 15% off all wedding coverage (and 10% off to all APWers whose weddings fall outside those dates!)
The bottom line is this: Elizabeth Hurley has been around the wedding industry for a LONG time. And when I was talking to her on the phone to prepare for this post, she was so excited to know that after all that time, she’s finally found the community that’s just right for her. What I didn’t tell her was that I think you guys have been looking for her too.