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Amanda Summerlin Photography in Atlanta with Free U.S. Travel


Because life is too short to be working with assholes

by Maddie Eisenhart, Digital Director & Style Editor

Amanda Summerlin Photography in Atlanta with Free U.S. Travel | A Practical Wedding

So much of the wedding industry is predicated on making you feel bad about yourself, in really subtle and not-so-subtle ways. If I were planning my own wedding today and took a quick glance around at the industry, I’d assume I was either not skinny enough, or rich enough, or fancy enough to deserve a wedding. Which is why I’m so proud to have someone like Atlanta’s Amanda Summerlin Photography as an APW sponsor. Amanda has built a bullshit-free business based on the philosophy that the only requirement for working with her is that you be a nice person. (It’s right there in her company’s tagline: “I make neat pictures… for nice people.”) No matter where you live (free travel if you book at least sixty days in advance), and no matter what kind of wedding you’re having, Amanda thinks you deserve the best.

Amanda Summerlin Photography in Atlanta with Free U.S. Travel | A Practical Wedding

Last year, Amanda Summerlin wrote a love later to APW readers about why she loves working with you so much. But really, Amanda’s whole business is a love letter to APW couples. Just look at the section of her blog dedicated to y’all. A lot of photographers pay lip service to diversity, but Amanda Summerlin’s commitment to working with and representing couples of all sizes, shapes, and colors is right there in the work.

Amanda Summerlin Photography in Atlanta with Free U.S. Travel | A Practical Wedding

I could tell you all the reasons I love Amanda, but one of the best parts of working with her is that she’s hilarious, and smart, and kind, and it shows in how she talks about working with APWers. So I’m just going to let her do the talking for a little bit:

APW people are nice. And you’re a creative bunch. You’re not afraid to look convention and tradition in the eye and tell them to kiss your grits. Because you are typically thoughtful, you put a lot of effort into creating weddings that are actually fun and interesting for everyone (including you). Your weddings aren’t just another checkbox on a list of overachievements. But most importantly, you’re nice people, and life is just too short to spend working with assholes.

My job is the most awesome job in the world. And it should be, because I picked all of my favorite things and put them all together when I invented my job. Every weekend, I get to go somewhere I’ve never been before and hang out with the coolest people you’ll ever meet. I can’t believe it sometimes, but I actually get paid to go to parties. Not only that, but at these parties, I get to witness people behaving at their absolute best. Weddings are hard sometimes, because life is messy, and the people you love don’t always love each other. And sometimes, they actually kind of detest each other. But on a regular basis, I see people put aside enormous differences and work together to make sure that the day goes well for their shared loved one. To me, that’s been a restoration of my faith in humanity.

Amanda Summerlin Photography in Atlanta with Free U.S. Travel | A Practical Wedding

And because Amanda Summerlin loves her job and doesn’t have time to waste on making your life difficult, she’s built one of the rare, genuinely bullshit-free businesses in this industry. First, there are her hilarious F.A.Q and F.U.Q. pages that explain everything you did and maybe didn’t want to know about Amanda’s business (from what kind of equipment she uses to how she feels about your grandma). But then there’s just the business itself. Says Amanda of her artistic and operational philosophies:

We don’t fuck with you. All our pricing and information is up front and easy to understand… we are straight up WYSIWYG wedding photography. It’s all right there in dark brown and tan on our website, with no hidden fees or hard-sell tactics. We work really hard to be the kind of people we would want to do business with.

Amanda Summerlin Photography in Atlanta with Free U.S. Travel | A Practical Wedding

Artistically speaking, there are no sofas (or ovens) in a field on our website. Contrived is not my thing. There are however, lots of photos of people laughing and smiling and dancing and having a damn good time. We don’t copy other “successful” photographers’ formulas, because we’re too busy creating our own formula for success. And we’re making a living doing it, proving that you can be nice and still be a good business person.

Amanda Summerlin Photography in Atlanta with Free U.S. Travel | A Practical Wedding

Basically, Amanda Summerlin is the kind of person I would want at my wedding. I know she’d be able to roll with the loud antics of my mom’s crazy family, without horrifying the elder WASPs on my dad’s side, and she wouldn’t bat an eyelash at the weirdos I’m friends with. Amanda adds:

A quick note about my salty language (the polite Southerner in me demands I make amends). You may have noticed that I have punctuated my post with a light peppering of saucy four-letter-words, and my website can be a little snarky too (be sure to check out my FUQ page). You see, I love swear words and I think they are hilarious. However, I’m a professional and of moderate emotional maturity, so you can rest assured that on your wedding day, I’m not going to drop the f-bomb in front of your granny. Unless she’s like my granny was and has a potty mouth, in which case, I’m totally going to hang out with her a lot.

Amanda Summerlin Photography in Atlanta with Free U.S. Travel | A Practical Wedding

Oh, and did I mention that Amanda Summerlin Photography offers free travel anywhere in the continental United States, so long as you book her at least sixty days in advance of your wedding? (With a minor fee for car rentals in CA and NYC, because that ish is expensive.) On top of which, Amanda is offering 10% of any photography package (including custom packages) if you book your date by August 31, 2014. Amanda’s prices start at $2,400 and every package comes with all your digital files and a personal use copyright release. If it’s a good shot, you get to keep it. Amanda never holds your photos hostage or tries to upsell you a bunch of stuff you don’t want or need. Though she does offer killer albums that are custom designed and handmade (yes, handmade) in the US so you don’t have to wait a bazillion years for some guy wearing a beret to paddle it across the Atlantic while sipping an espresso (Amanda’s words, not mine).

Amanda Summerlin Photography in Atlanta with Free U.S. Travel | A Practical Wedding

I’m pretty sure if you could clone your best friend in a test tube and then add a dash of crazy photography talent to the mix, you’d end up with Amanda Summerlin shooting your wedding. (I mean, we all saw it in yesterday’s wedding, no?)  I could think of worse people to have at my wedding, but I’m not sure there are a whole lot that would be better.

Amanda Summerlin Photography in Atlanta with Free U.S. Travel | A Practical Wedding

Maddie Eisenhart

Maddie is the Managing Editor of A Practical Wedding. She’s been writing stories about boys and crushes since she was old enough to form shapes into words, but received her formal training (and a BS) in the art of talking from NYU in 2008. In her spare time, she takes pictures of people in love. Maddie lives on a pony farm in the Bay Area with her husband Michael, her Mastiff named Juno, and her roommate named Joe.

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  • http://karenmadrone.wordpress.com/ Karen

    Oh my god! My wife and I are in the third picture from the top! Hiring Amanda Summerlin was the ABSOLUTELY best wedding decision we made. The.best.decision. Period. We have gotten huge raves from our friends and guests about how amazing Amanda’s pictures are and how amazing she is as a person. She was the BEST to hang out with, she made picture taking FUN (who knew?), and she was incredibly thoughtful and respectful. We only met her twice via Skype before our wedding day. Our friends thought we were nuts. I’m glad we stuck with our gut on this one. She was absolutely amazing to work with. She is worth twice what we could have paid her. Over and over again people have said to us, “she’s going to be famous one day” and I agree. HIRE Amanda!

    • macrain

      I thought I recognized you! Beautiful photo!

      • http://karenmadrone.wordpress.com/ Karen

        Thanks! It’s all because Amanda makes picture taking fun and easy. Never in a million years would I think that those two words were associated with photography but it’s true.

    • Amanda Summerlin

      Karen, you are so awesome. I had such a fantastic time at your wedding and you guys were so much fun to make photos with. I couldn’t be more thrilled that you love your photos so much.

    • vegankitchendiaries

      I was like, “HEY, I THINK THAT’S APW KAREN!”

      Very gorgeousness! Such emotive!

      • http://karenmadrone.wordpress.com/ Karen

        Thanks! I did not feel self conscious at all with Amanda. At one point she told me I was beautiful and I said “Aw, c’mon, you’re just saying that.” Then she showed me a pic in her camera and I was shocked! I’m telling you having Amanda take our pics and looking at them (over and over again!) is a serious ego boost. Here is the link to her blog post about us: http://www.amandasummerlin.com/blog/2014/04/karen-and-michelle-unitarian-universalist-wedding-in-north-carolina/#comments

        • vegankitchendiaries

          You guys are both hella beautiful! (Don’t give Amanda ALL the credit!)

          It’s nice to look at these again, actually… Your first look is especially sweet! If I was you I’d be looking at these pictures every freakin’ day.

  • MC

    The picture of the grandma in the gold outfit dancing is the BEST thing I have seen probably all week.

    • Amanda Summerlin

      Thanks MC! I nearly broke my neck to get that shot, but it is one of my finest moments as a photographer.

    • vegankitchendiaries

      These are really, really different… So many of these pictures are laugh out loud hilarious for a start. Awesome photog.

  • Keri

    Maddie is right, Amanda is without a doubt the person you want to have at your wedding and not only because she takes dynamite pictures. She’s kind and thoughtful and hysterical and doesn’t bat an eye when your Unky Bob (because Uncle is too normal) brings a selection of hats to pass around during the reception OR when random dogs invade your group shots. Instead, she captures the moment so you can laugh about it (with pictures!) long after the actual day.

    PS- that’s my sweet bearded husband in the mask photo!

    • Amanda Summerlin

      Keri, just so you know, Unky Bob was an inspiration to me, and when we went to Gettysburg last month I bought a top hat. I wear it now whenever I edit photos. Combined with the Zone 5 grey walls mentioned above, I’ve noticed a direct increase in productivity and creativity. I also bought a corn cob pipe, but that’s a subject for another post.

  • http://www.cantabridgette.blogspot.com CaitlinSumner

    In case I didn’t rave enough yesterday…yeah. Amanda is the best. I only wish we had had a tiny bit of sun on the wedding day so that we could have had some of those amazing sun haze or lens flare shots (Amanda + sunlight = magic). But she made some pretty magic with overcast light, so I can’t be too sad. And the albums are gorgeous!

    • Amanda Summerlin

      Rain or not, you guys had an amazing wedding day with some really fantastic moments. Plus, you wore the best lipstick color ever and I think the overcast day really made the color pop. Glad you like the albums!

      • emmers

        I agree! I loved your pics, reading that post yesterday. There’s an amazing backlit one that I love. I know you may have had a different vision, but I thought your pics were stunning, and I wouldn’t even have noticed that it was overcast/raining, except that you mentioned the umbrellas & there was an umbrella pic!

  • Heather

    Agree with Karen. Hiring Amanda was pretty much the best wedding decision we made. I still get comments on how good the photographer was from my family! (MY FAMILY! Who (oops!) have barely seen the photos.)

    *Ahem* We also need to order some prints finally (note that we’re over a year out from our wedding), and we were just talking about that this past weekend. *So Amanda, expect a call or e-mail at some point soon*

    So in my opinion, the top 3 reasons to work with Amanda, in no particular order are:
    1) She takes the best dancing pictures EVER. See evidence above with the grandmother. In fact, her pictures are like you remember the wedding day. They’re probably better than what really happened, but they definitely aren’t different. They have the right amount of glowiness to them (not so romantical as if in a dream, but definitely stylized and fanciful as if it’s a happy party day, which it is), and the best ones focus on the people which will always make you smile.

    2) She is super sweet and kinda quiet, and everyone likes her on your wedding day (however, when you guys are alone for say, an engagement session, she will be as funny as possible, and a smidgen snarky).

    3) She goes with the flow wonderfully so and is wonderfully flexible; for example, when you show up a bit later than you were intending to the church prior to your wedding, she says, that’s okay, and has fun taking pictures of the scenery and the guys who were already there and dressed.

    • http://karenmadrone.wordpress.com/ Karen

      I didn’t realize the magic of Amanda until quite a bit later while reviewing our pictures (again and again!). I noticed that she made sure to take pics during the ceremony of key people that we took pics with before the ceremony. Not once did we say “will you take pics of our family looking dewy eyed?” she just did. To me it comes down to: she pays attention. She notices what you say and don’t say.
      And funny! After taking many family pics and rearranging ourselves several times she could tell people were getting tired so she said “Hey! Everyone imagine Michelle (my now wife) in a dress!” Everyone cracked up! I’ll never forget it.
      We gave presents to our wedding team and didn’t tell her we were going to do this ahead of time. Heck, the time we were going to do this got all out of wack. She totally went with the flow and got absolutely amazing pics of our wedding team being shocked and amazed. Those are some of my favorite pics and they were totally unplanned.

    • Amanda Summerlin

      Hi Heather! We would be thrilled to hear from you and get some prints of your gorgeous selves! Also, you should know I’ll never forget how you guys rocked ‘Sweet Caroline’ at the end of your reception.

  • http://www.smittenchickens.com/ Sarah Hoppes

    Reading your FUQs now. Your office is ZONE 5 GREY. I’m such a cheeseball and can’t stop giggling at that one!

    Oh and your photos are stunning, but that goes without saying!

    • Amanda Summerlin

      Lol… thanks Sarah! Zone 5 grey is a very soothing color. ;)

  • Caroline B

    After having worked recently with Amanda (June 14th!), I cannot say enough positive things about her whole persona, business and just general awesomeness. I had been following her for about two years on APW and as soon as we got engaged I knew she was the one for us! She made the entire process of booking a wedding photographer stress-free and was totally cool with rolling with the punches, never getting irritated or annoyed with some of the last minute changes (which are bound to happen when you are planning a wedding while in law school).

    Our engagement shoot was so relaxed and we had such a wonderful time – it felt like we were just hanging out and she had a sweet camera to use while we did! Her photos are such a steal at the price they are at – Amanda, I don’t know if you know how awesome your prices are. You get SUCH great quality photos without the feeling that they are mass produced or that they have been taken in the exact same pose a million times before.

    I cannot stress to you enough how much Amanda contributed positively to our whole wedding experience. When I was worried about the performance of other vendors, I NEVER worried about Amanda or her work product. She was easily accessible via email or phone, and always more than willing to be a listening ear or offer advice if asked.

    Thank you again, Amanda and Jessi (her awesome partner in crime!), for a wonderful wedding day. Our families and friends thank you so much for giving us such wonderful memories to look back on and grin cheesily!

  • adgirlmp

    My second wedding anniversary is fast approaching, and I’m still getting comments from various aunts and family friends about how much they enjoyed Amanda, how beautiful her work is, and how they’ll need her contact info when their own children get married. In all she was a delight on our wedding day and the pictures she captured are incredible. We even hired her again to do a one-year anniversary shoot (which also was a secret pregnancy reveal shoot) and can’t wait for her to be up near us in Brooklyn (September? Sooner? We’re buying the beer!) so we can get amazing shots of our family of 3.

  • http://3upadventures.com Beth

    You know your wedding photos were great when someone you don’t know comes up to you at another freaking awesome wedding and says they saw your photos and they’re astounding.

    True story. Happened to me just a couple weeks ago. Good thing Amanda was shooting for Stacia and Dre too or I’d feel guilty or something. :-)

  • CJ

    We just booked Amanda as our photog this week, and we are so excited to have her shoot our wedding next March. I only wish that I had a cool dancing grandma. But alas, no. (Now I sort of wish we had waited a couple of days to see this offer. But still. We’re excited!)

  • Erin

    We were lucky enough to have Amanda as our photographer over two years ago and we are still recommending her to everyone person we talk to who is planning a wedding. As others have said, she not only “makes” (as Amanda says, and it is totally true) fabulous pictures that you will laugh at and cry over for years to come, but she creates lasting memories when actually making the pictures (especially engagement photos) with her creative, calming, kind, and witty presence. And her final products are beautiful, with little extra thoughtful touches! I had to add one of our favorite photos that is so uniquely Amanda Summerlin!

    • Guest

      I do not think that the picture actually posted, so please disregard my last sentence. :)

  • Mad

    Amanda did my wedding, and I will definitely vouch for her both taking amazing photos of people who don’t look like models and being a warm, funny, and positive presence on the day-of!

  • lucy559

    I have to give this miraculous testimony, which is so unbelievable until now. I had a problem with my Ex husband 2years ago, which lead to our break up. when he broke up with me, I was not myself again, i felt so empty inside me, my love and financial situation became worst, until a close friend of mine lucy told me about a spell caster who helped her in the same problem too his name is Dr Ekaka. I email ekakaspelltemple@yahoo.com the spell caster and i told him my problem and i did what he asked of me, to cut the long story short. Before i knew what was happening my husband gave me a call and told me that he was coming back to me in just 2days and was so happy to have him back to me. We have two kids together and we are happy with ourselves. Thanks to Dr Ekaka for saving my relationship and for also saving others own too. continue your good work, If you are interested to contact him and testify this blessings like me, the great spell caster email address is ekakaspelltemple@yahoo.com you are the best among all the spell caster online I hope you see my testimonies and also pray for my family too

  • Jenny

    Working with Amanda was fantastic! She funny, and nice and super easy to work with! Our pictures were amazing. We have bunches of our wedding pictures up at our house and get compliments all the time. They are art.