A Love Letter To APW, From Amanda Summerlin Photography In Atlanta

by Maddie Eisenhart, Managing Editor

As long as I’ve known her, Amanda Summerlin has always just been the photographer with the best sense of humor around. I mean, sure, Amanda’s got talent coming out her ears, and her rates start at $1,900, and she travels all over the country for free. But forget all that. Because girlfriend is hilarious. In fact, stop what you’re doing right now and go read her FAQs 1, FAQs 2, and FUQs pages right now and then come back when you’re in love with her (don’t worry, it won’t take long. She had me at, “You want a photographer who will take more pictures of your grandmother than the centerpieces,” and, “You know all the words to the marriage ceremony in The Princess Bride.”)

Great. Now that you’re in love with Amanda, let’s get down to brass tacks. Amanda Summerlin is, simply put, the real deal. Her photos are stunning (do you see the emotion? The subtle humor? Those skies?!), and Amanda creates those stunning images with unmatched professionalism and an attitude that lets you know you’re in good hands (because you are). Plus, Amanda Summerlin is not joking about her travel rates (which are, uh, non-existent if you’re in the lower forty-eight). Just take a look at all the places Amanda has shot already! (Blue dots are places Amanda has already shot, and you can see the accompanying blog posts of the weddings if you head over here and click on a location that interests you. Red dots are future weddings. In other words, that’s a lot of dots.)

But for all that Amanda Summerlin is smart, funny, and seriously good at her job, what I really want to talk about today is the heart that Amanda puts into her work, and what it means for her to be able to do that work with the APW community. I’ll let Amanda give it to you in her own words (all I’ll say is you may want to grab a hankie):

For the past three years, I’ve been thrilled to work with the most amazing couples ever, many of whom have come from the APW community. And I have learned about a lot of things along the way. I’ve learned about (in no particular order) home brew, teaching, cotton, geology, soccer, cool stuff to do in my hometown, saguaro cactus, barrier islands, peanut butter and chocolate wedding cake, where the best restaurants are in too many cities to list, off-road driving, the wobble, fishing, wildlife photography, Elvis, zombies, Elvis zombies, and the importance of marriage. That last thing is probably the one I expected least, but the one I needed most (although I was pretty psyched about the peanut butter and chocolate cake).

You see, I never intended to be a wedding photographer. And I didn’t become a wedding photographer because I love weddings. I became a wedding photographer because making portraits and photographs of people is my passion, and there’s no place on earth that gives me more opportunity to make more interesting photos of people than a wedding. For me, there is no greater thrill than making a photo of you and then showing you how beautiful you when you are seen through someone else’s eyes… because if I’m doing my job right, I’m showing you how everyone who loves you really sees you. (Plus, the dance photos are wicked fun to make.)

But a funny thing happened along the way, in that whole “and her heart grew three sizes bigger” way. Spending all those weekends surrounded by couples who were thoughtful and insightful and in love with each other and life, I started to appreciate their ceremonies in a different way. The meaning of a wedding ceremony began to resonate with me more deeply, and I started to understand that marriage was a lot more than a legal contract that conferred 1138 rights to a couple (although I’d still appreciate having those, thankyouverymuch). I realize now that standing up and speaking vows and exchanging rings with the person you choose to spend your life with is an act that connects you to both the past and the future, bringing validation and strength to your relationship from the inside and the outside. So, although the definition of marriage may have changed over the years (ahem), it seems to me that the real meaning of marriage is stronger than ever for many couples.

For these posts, Meg and Maddie always ask why I want to work with APW couples in particular, and this time I have to say from the bottom of my heart, I love to work with APW couples because they keep me grounded and make me a better person and a better partner in my relationship. And because they serve the best beer and food at their receptions.

And that right there is what it’s all about. Because who doesn’t want to work with a photographer so invested in your wedding that it changes her from the inside out? That’s magic. And speaking of magic, because Amanda Summerlin loves y’all (clearly), she is extending her current booking bonus to the end of September. Now anyone who books a wedding with Amanda Summerlin by the end of September can choose between an upgrade of either ten additional album pages or a 16×24 gallery wrap. And a hug. (Well, Amanda says you would have gotten that anyway, but she thought she should mention it.)

So guys, if you’re looking for a no-nonsense photographer who can produce images that look like they came out of a magazine, in the least pretentious way possible, all while making you laugh and feel loved, then Amanda Summerlin is your lady. (Fine, that was a really specific list. But still. It’s an awesome list.) Plus there’s the added bonus of knowing that you’ve changed Amanda’s life for the better and now she’s ready to pay it forward. I’m just excited to see how.

Staff Picks

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  • Karen

    We have hired Amanda for our April 2014 wedding and we are very excited about working with her. My partner and I chatted with her via Skype and she is really funny and easygoing. Although we haven’t met in person, I have every confidence that she will do a great job.

    • Aw, thanks Karen! I’m excited to be working with you guys because you’re so much fun. And I already know we’ll make amazing photos together because you laughed at all my cheesy jokes. And because you’re both awesome. That’s the winning combo right there.

    • We also hired Amanda for our April 2014 wedding :) It was one of the first wedding decisions we made, and I can tell it will be one of the best!

  • Jenny

    Yes! Amanda’s pics are amazing! Two of them from our wedding made the post and they happen to be 2 of my favorites, but dang if it isn’t hard to pick from the treasure trove of amazing pictures we got back! She’s AWESOME! Easy to work with and funny and nice! Hire her right now!

    • Jenny, you totally rock! Picking favorite photos is hard for me too because awesome couples like you guys make such amazing weddings. Choosing photos for this post was so harrrrd… lol.

  • Anon

    If we could just roll the clock back 3 years so I could hire you for my wedding, that would be great, kthx. Then you could have a little dot on your page over Chicagoland!

    • I’m in! Especially if the time machine will deliver me to the correct location so that I can avoid sitting in Chicago traffic.

  • Joy

    We found her through this site and she photographed our wedding last year! She’s awesome and funny and is a total photographer rock star. Hire her, people.

    • Hi Joy! Have I told you lately how awesome you are? Because I should have. Hugs to you and the Dr. and the crazy puppy!

  • Margi

    “For me, there is no greater thrill than making a photo of you and then showing you how beautiful you when you are seen through someone else’s eyes… because if I’m doing my job right, I’m showing you how everyone who loves you really sees you. ”

    Wow. This just gave me chills.

  • Who brags about their wedding photographer in totally out of context situations?

    Oh wait. I do.

    Because that’s how awesome Amanda is.

    • Ha! Who has the most awesome wedding clients (and friends) that make the most epic and sincere and beautiful weddings ever? I do!

  • Such epic work!

    Plus, “. . . if I’m doing my job right, I’m showing you how everyone who loves you really sees you.” is so spot-on!

    • Thanks Sarah! You’re pretty darn cool too, you know.

  • Esther

    Amanda! You were such an amazing addition to our wedding. In addition to taking gorgeous pictures, you were funny, friendly, and a calming presence all throughout the day. And the jelly beans in the box with our wedding picture flash drive? Brilliant. Thank you so much for everything! Everyone else out there – hire Amanda. Just do it.

    • Lol! Thank you so much, Esther. I had a really great time with you guys, and I’m very proud of you all for braving the cold weather to make all those photos with me. PS, if I’d known the jellybeans were the key, I would have sent them sooner.

  • Hillary

    I can attest to how truly fun and easy-going Amanda is! Not to mention how gorgeous and epic her photos are. We hired her for our wedding and she flew all the way to Baltimore to do our engagement pictures and then let us schlepp her all over the city for the day without complaint. We’re beyond excited to have her back for our wedding in October. You can’t get any better than Amanda Summerlin!

    • Thank you Hillary!! One of the best perks of my totally awesome job is that I get to travel to places I’ve never been and hang out with amazing people who happily show me all the coolest stuff around. I’m sooooo excited to come see you guys again in October and get to meet all your family and friends and make epic photos with all of you.

  • Bethany

    Working with Amanda was one of the best choices we made when planning our wedding. Besides being a fantastic photographer, she is a really nice, reassuring, funny, professional person. We can’t say enough good things about our experience with her. Looking at our wedding photos never fails to bring me right back to that day. I love that she captured images I didn’t even know I wanted. Book her now! — the bride in the last photo :)

    • Omg Bethany!! One of my top 5 favorite wedding moments is watching you take the microphone and perfectly rap the entirety of Ice Ice Baby. Plus, that last photo is also one of my favorite dance photos ever. You guys had the best party. It’s funny, at the beginning of the day, you seemed so quiet….

  • Wow! Thanks so much to everyone who commented here today. I’ve been traveling all afternoon, so this was a wonderful surprise to find when I finally checked into my hotel room and logged on to the internet. APW readers really are beyond wonderful. I lurve you guys.

  • I’m always late to these things (thanks a lot, over 12 hour time difference from the US!) but just wanted to echo what everyone else has said. Our wedding photos from Amanda far surpassed any expectations I had. She definitely captured my husband the way I see him (he’s the cutest EVER) and got great candid photos of so many of our loved ones. Our parents, in particular. My parents dancing, his parents SMILING! (This does not happen. Not that they’re unhappy people, but for whatever reason, they don’t smile for pictures.) When you tell your photographer, “And I’ll need a photoshoot of my maid of honor and me bed-skiing at some point” and she not only doesn’t ask questions, but is excited about it, that’s the wedding photographer you want. It seriously took me about four hours to choose the photos for the giant collage frames I bought because there are just so many that I love.

  • Megan

    We loved having Amanda photograph our wedding so much that we just had a one-year anniversary shoot with her, too! It was the best way we could think of to document how much fun the first year of marriage has been. She is honestly one of the funniest and most pleasant people I’ve ever met. So thank you Amanda for driving to Savannah for our session this morning, and if you’re looking for a photographer for your wedding, your anniversary, or just to make gorgeous pictures with . . . hire her now!!!

  • Caitlin

    We found Amanda because of a post here on APW, and oh my gosh are we glad we did! We had our first meeting with her on Skype, and absolutely can’t wait for May 2014 so we can hang out with her again, this time in person. She’s fabulous (and fabulous at what she does) so everyone who hasn’t hired her yet, do it! Amanda, we can’t wait to see you in Louisiana in May! Yay!

  • I had to come back here to shout from the rooftops (even if no one is here) about how absolutely freaking amazing Amanda Summerlin is. We got married on April 12. We had never met Amanda before that day (we only chatted via Skype) and she was amazing. Words are incredibly inadequate to describe not only her pictures but Amanda herself. She made having pictures taken fun and easy. She was absolutely hysterical. We have had rave reviews about how phenomenal our pictures are. I will let them speak for themselves: http://www.amandasummerlin.com/blog/2014/04/karen-and-michelle-unitarian-universalist-wedding-in-north-carolina/#comments