*This is a paid post from an APW Sponsor*
Most of my personal favorite artists (wedding photographers, regular photographers, musicians, artisans, you name it) have two things in common: they’re trained artists and they have something to say. Like knows like, and there is something that speaks to my soul in the shared (arduous) process of going to art school and
having been tortured getting formal training that forced us to think about what we want to say with our work. Also, possibly, there is something that speaks to my therapy bills, but I’ll keep that between me and the art school graduates in the house.
Bri McDaniel is one of those kinds of artists. A wedding photographer out of Atlanta, she studied photography at the Savannah College of Art and Design (which, for the uninitiated, is a huge deal), and man does she have a message. But first, an introduction to Bri McDaniel Photography.
There are a few things that I truly adore in life: my three cats, Texas Pete Hot Sauce, my boyfriend (editor’s note: now fiancé!), and APW. I love this site and its readers so much because I see real couples. I see me (I’m a short girl with a fro). I see my relationship (I’m black and he’s white). I see real couples and real weddings that I am truly inspired by. I read amazing advice to things I wouldn’t have even considered, like proposing to your boyfriend. And it is all so refreshing. I feel like I am understood and right at home here. I want to work with APW couples because I totally get you. I feel like I already know you. And when we meet, I know we will have an instant connection.
Rad, right? Bri’s your girl. But there is way more to Bri McDaniel Photography than a lovable person you want to have around, amazing photos, and brilliant rates (wedding packages start at $2,500). Bri has something to say about race and representation in the wedding industry. As someone who’s been working in this market for six years, I can say for sure that this is a conversation we need to be having. Often. Loudly. Here is a start from Bri McDaniel:
I see the Atlanta wedding market really divided by race. The African American bride and wedding is represented in one way: over the top, glamorous, and traditional. Not every couple of color is like this, and it is important to me to represent the couples who are different in a way that is different. I just got engaged, so of course right now I am glued to wedding blogs for inspiration. It is disheartening to not really see myself represented. I’m not traditional nor am I looking to throw a big show. So it’s somewhat of a mission of mine to represent every type of couple, and really capture their love stories in a unique way.
Because it’s about race, but it’s not just about race. As long as we allow ourselves and others to be pigeonholed, we’re not really giving ourselves a chance to understand each other. And as long as we fail to question why the wedding industry is so lily white, we’re complicit in the problem. (And I hold APW to this same standard. We’re continuously struggling with not being able to offer as diverse a representation of weddings as I’d hope for in my least ambitious dreams.)
No surprise, Bri is up to some really interesting work when she’s not shooting weddings, too.
I’m working on a book that will feature images and love stories of interracial couples. When I was in school I started documenting my relationship. The images turned out to be very intimate and showed who we were as a couple in everyday life. They also opened up a lot of questions that I wanted to explore. This has turned into a long-term project for me, and I’m very excited to branch out. I will be traveling to a few cities this year to meet up with interracial couples. I will spend the day with them, documenting their everyday life, and I will tell their stories. I’m always looking for new couples to be a part of the project.
The fact that Bri has something to say is, in my mind, directly tied to her skill as a storyteller and image-maker. She says:
I like to think of myself as a romantic storyteller. I will document a couple’s day as it naturally unfolds with as little interference as possible, capturing every little moment and fully telling their story. My images are full of emotion and have a dramatic and dreamy feel to them. I aim to create art, and I’m really into making my couples and their love stories look epic. I love to really get to know the couples I work with so they can feel comfortable around me and be themselves. In turn I can create images that reflect their personalities and who they are as a couple in love.
Now, the details.
- Bri’s wedding packages start at $2,500 and go up to $4,000. Given the massive overhead of running a wedding photography studio, I’m not sure how she’s eating, so jump on that deal while it lasts.
- All APW couples get 10% off their packages and no travel fees.
- Each package includes wedding day coverage, image box and custom USB drive, online gallery, and print rights. Additional portrait sessions can be added or removed, along with a second photographer.
- Plus, she gets that her packages won’t work for everyone, so she has no problem working with you to create a package that fits your needs and budget.
- Traveling news: “I love traveling and have a few cities that I have been dying to shoot in, so I’m even offering a special package for couples having a wedding in either New York, Washington DC, Portland, Denver, or Las Vegas. The package is $2,500 and includes full day wedding coverage, rehearsal dinner coverage (or day-after session), online gallery, image box and custom USB, and print rights.”
- All of her packages come with an image box of one hundred quality 4×6 prints of your favorite images and a custom USB drive.
You want this girl in your corner, Atlanta. Go make it happen.