*This is a paid post from an APW Sponsor*
When Seattle’s Jonas Seaman first joined APW as a sponsor, I sent Meg an email that simply said, “I. Love. Him.” At that point I hadn’t met Jonas in person yet; I’d only seen his work and heard him talk about his passion for the business through his blog and via email, but I knew from the start that there was something extra special about this guy. In short, Jonas Seaman is the kind of photographer you hire when you really, really, really care about your wedding photos.
Jonas’ images always just hit me square in the gut, in a way that’s evocative and emotional and raw and moody and all of the other feelings you experience at once on a wedding day. And given his immense talent, you might half expect Jonas to be some kind of an egotistical jerk (or at the very least, totally full of himself), which makes it an unexpected and pleasant surprise when you discover that he’s also one of the most humble, kind, charismatic people you’ll ever met (not ever to be confused with boring. Jonas has a life story so compelling that you want to grab popcorn and curl up on the sofa with your favorite blanket while he tells you all about it). Since getting to know Jonas, and even having had the pleasure of stepping in front of his camera myself, here’s what I’ve learned: there’s magic in the room when Jonas goes to work, and when he talks, you can’t help but sit up and pay attention. And if you’re lucky enough to hire him for your wedding, well, I wish I could be you.
The thing about Jonas is it’s hard to sound sincere when I’m writing about him, because everything comes out in hyperbole. His photos are amazing. And he’s honestly the best to be around. And there isn’t an ounce of pride in his body. And I just wish he lived nearby so we could be photo buddies and I could invite him over take cool moody portraits of me while Mary (his girlfriend/second shooter/partner in crime) plays with my dog. That’s the kind of relationship you get when you hire Jonas: the kind where you always feel like the most important person in the room, where you somehow feel like Jonas is more appreciative of what you’re doing for him than the other way around, and where the end product is always way better than what you’d imagined. See what I mean? But the thing is; every word is true. Jonas is just that good.
So much of the Jonas Seaman magic lies in the fact that Jonas has a nearly dogmatic work ethic. He explained to me, “I decided early on that I didn’t want to become a wedding factory, so I take on a very limited amount of bookings per year. This last year I limited myself to twenty weddings. I ended up turning away more weddings than I booked, but I think in the end the work was better for it. I never book more than one wedding per weekend. If I book a wedding on a Saturday, I turn down all inquiries for the Friday and Sunday before and after. I devote the weekend to the couple. This way I can show up the day before the wedding to do a thorough location scout. Also, I’m never in a rush to get out of a wedding reception early because I have another wedding booked the next morning. I’ve applied this same philosophy to my culling and editing. I take my time to make sure each collection is perfect, processing both color as well as black and white versions of each picture. I know this means extra days of editing on my end, but if forty years from now it helps the collection to hold up, it will be worth it.” And you know someone means it when they start talking about forty years from now and a price tag isn’t attached to the statement.
Since today is your lucky day, you can get Jonas Seaman Photography at your wedding for $3,600, which includes 8–10 hours of coverage, plus all your images on a flash drive and in an online gallery, along with a few other bells and whistles that Jonas will tell you about when you get in touch with him. And even though Jonas is officially based out of Seattle, he means it when he says hire him for anywhere. There are no crazy travel fees with Jonas; just the cost of travel to get to you, plus hotel and car. And you still get all that Jonas weekend-long hustle, even if you’re a few thousand miles away from home.
When I talk about the importance of personality in wedding photography, it’s not just about having someone you get along with by your side all day. It’s knowing that your photographer is in it for you, that they care more about your photos than their portfolio, more about making you happy than self-promoting. Some of the big photographers in this industry produce consistently beautiful work by only ever photographing the prettiest parts of your day (which means maybe you won’t get photos of that really important moment because the lighting wasn’t right). And then there are people like Jonas Seaman, who produces consistently beautiful photos because he works his ass of for it, and because he’s determined to take whatever conditions he’s given and turn them into art. Art that moves you and means something when you look at it forty years down the road. Personally? I’d much rather have the latter.