Amanda Summerlin, Wedding Photography For The USA (And A Giveaway!)

First of all, I want to talk to you about how when I started looking at the photos Amanda Summerlin sent me for this post, I started laughing. I mean, the photos themselves have a sense of humor, and that’s really hard to do with a wedding photo. Also, I would like to state for the record that Maddie and I are pretty funny ladies. In fact, I have now traveled all over the country just so I could come be funny in your city, to prove that point. So, let’s just take as fact that we have pretty solid senses of humor. So! Just a few minutes into reading Amanda Summerlin’s website, I started what turned into a really long email chain with Maddie, just emailing her the funniest stuff. And at some point, I started laughing so hard I was actually crying real tears. That’s impressive. So part of me really doesn’t want to bother writing a post, but just to send you over to read Amanda’s FAQ 1FAQ 2, and really maybe just start with her FUQ (that’s Frequently Unasked Questions). Because I’m pretty sure that after that, you’re going to want to hire her/be her best friend forever.

Second of all, I was going to write an epic paragraph about how Amanda’s work had grown in the last year, but she said it better than me when she told me, “My work has really matured in the past year. Stylistically settled and more consistent. Things are getting softer and I’m getting into my groove for catching beautiful emotional moments better.” Which is exactly what’s happening. We’re going to talk way more about Amanda, but for the record, she shoots out of Atlanta, but she also shoots… everywhere in the lower 48 (you read that right).

But, of course I am going to write a post, and not just because Amanda paid me to do it, and it’s my job (though, that is in fact true). Also, because I have a lot more things to say. Like, about how Amanda’s weddings are really affordable, starting at just $1,700. Plus she does a lot of cool stuff, including, “Photobooth, Morning/Day After Wedding Sessions, Boudoir Sessions for women or men (or couples), Bridal/Groom Portraits (extended sessions). These sessions can be exchanged in their packages or added a la carte.” but more to the point she travels for free anywhere in the lower 48. I know. I got confused when I read that too, because I thought it was a typo, but apparently it’s totally not. Also, she kind of super adores you guys (I’m going to let her get into that in a minute), but to reward you for that, she’s offering APW couples, “10% any weddings booked by March 31.  The weddings can be in 2012 or 2013.  Hell, I’ll book 2014 too if it’s an APW couple.” Rad. Right? Obviously.

Oh, and also, she trained on film, so if you want her to shoot on film too (obviously you want that) it can be arranged. The woman has a black and white darkroom in her home, and if I know one thing, it’s that photographers who know how to shoot on film and develop their own work have a certain je ne sai quoi. (Except really, we do know quoi, and it’s film technique. But, details.) Also, Amanda is not into heavy trendy photoshop editing. She has some pretty sharp things to say on the subject, most of which I really agree with, so I’m just going to let her say them.

But! All that was just the lead up (oops) to the fact that she’s also offering a really cool contest. For free wedding photos. This is a BIG DEAL y’all. She says, “My angle is that I’m looking for the nicest couple. They don’t have to have any tragedy or anything like that. I’m not looking for heartbreak, I just think that nice people should get more cool stuff. The lead on my contest is, ‘Hello. My name is Amanda and I’m a Karmic Assistant. You’ve been really good, so let me pay you back by shooting you.'” So you’re going to need to enter that. Right now.

But why is she offering this? Because she loves you. I’m going to let her explain why. “Why APW? I freaking LOVE working with APW couples. They stand out so much from other couples, it’s practically dangerous to try to describe the difference. It’s big things and little things, but mostly it’s the little things that stand out to me. As a co-parent of three teenagers, one of the major themes in our home is the importance of manners. We want the kids to understand that manners make life better because being courteous is simply doing what you can to help other people feel comfortable. We try to teach them that there is no greater joy in life than making someone else happy. And APW couples seem to just understand and live that idea on a deeper level than your average citizen. Which just sends me to the moon. Because being nice to people just rocks, and it’s ridiculously easy to be nice to people who are nice to you.” And guess what? No surprise after that, but Amanda’s clients love her right back. And you can look at her work with APW couples right here.

So! What are you supposed to take away from this post? A few things! Amanda is hilarious. Amanda takes hilarious and downright pretty photos. Amanda shoots out of Atlanta, but will travel all over the lower 48 for free. You should enter her contest to win free wedding photography. And, finally, Amanda loves you, and I think you will love her right back. The end.

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  • Well, this is the most exciting thing I’ve read all week. Heading over to Amanda’s website immediately. Loving these photos!

    • Thanks Katie! Hope you enjoy what you find there. I’ll be checking out your blog too. :)

  • Man, I want to compete in a nice people contest, but I won’t since I am not in need of wedding photography. Great work Ms. Amanda. BTW, your signature is perfection, just in case you are unaware.

    • Thanks so much Chi-Ling! Like many things, there’s a funny story behind the signature… mostly about how I’m a dummy. Btw, I’m a big fan of your work.

      • Aww, thanks. Right back at you.

  • Remy

    “What does the copyright release allow me to do with my pictures?”

    What an excellent explanation Amanda has! Not to mention the funny. Girl has funny going on.

    • Agreed! Loving how well-explained these answers are while still being hilarious!

      • Thanks you guys! Like lots of people, I believe that a wedding is a big party, a celebration. And it’s probably the biggest one most people have in their lives. It should be fun. I don’t know why so many parts of planning a wedding have to be such fun sucking vacuums. I mean, I take my work seriously, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a lot of fun too.

  • Margaret

    You know, I’m an old married lady now, but this vendor makes me wish that I could be in the planning stages again (and I NEVER thought I’d say that). So jealous of everyone that has Amanda as an option!

    • Thanks Margaret! You know, you don’t have to have a wedding to get me to come visiting. But seriously, I really appreciate your compliments. That’s one of the best compliments I’ve ever received.

    • Beth

      Ditto! LOVE these photos (the laughing bride and her beautiful dress in the first photo, and the uber-cute photo of the engaged couple in a van on her website), and her writing! I totally looked up her FAQ’s and FUQ’s even though I’m already married. Well if we have another photographer-worthy event I know who to call!

  • Joy

    She’s our photographer! Now the world knows why we’re so lucky! We haven’t even met face to face yet, but I hope we’ll be friends after the wedding for sure. Actually, after I read her website (the whole thing! I couldn’t stop!) I wanted to take her out for drinks immediately. Good sign, my friends.

    • I like drinks! Oh, and you guys seemed pretty cool too! Ha ha. See you next weekend!

  • Jill

    So awesome! We just started planning, we’re thinking of a wedding on Cape Cod….will definitely be keeping Amanda in mind! Love the work!

    • Congratulations! You know, I’ve never been to Cape Cod. I hope to hear from you. And I wish you all the best!

  • Oh, Amanda. You just gave me buyer’s remorse a little bit. For shame!

    (Truth time: I picked another ATL photographer over Amanda. Don’t judge me.)

    So in the last 10 minutes of reassuring myself that I do love my photographer (and I do!) I resolved that we’re just going to have to get portrait sessions with our kitties from you. That will solve everything!

    And passing this along to some friends, like a good samaritan should.

    • Lucy, you rock. And your photographer is going to do an awesome job. However, I would be thrilled to make portraits of your kitties too. Also, it was great to see you again at the APW book talk. Let’s keep in touch!

  • Leah

    I <3 Amanda!

    • I really <3 you too Leah. And I think Mark is pretty cool too. But BabyRox is the cat's pajamas.

  • Grace

    Amanda was our photographer. I was so excited and proud when she became an APW sponsor. Her work is fantastic and her attitude can’t be beat! Each of our “vendor meetings” ran into overtime and felt like a conversation with a good friend. The pictures were better than we had hoped for. Even last weekend we looked at some with friends and were doubled over in laughter at the moments caught by Amanda.

    • Thank you Grace. I really enjoyed you guys so much. Yours was the first official APW wedding, and it really stands out to me for so many reasons. Plus, WOW can you and your friends and family DANCE!!!

  • My best friend needs to enter this ASAP. I just sent her the link. She is super duper nice, and deserves something amazing like this. And I can’t shoot her wedding, since I’m maid of honor, so this would be fantastic. Yay, Amanda, for being so generous!

    • Holy smokes!! Get her to enter! Or enter for her. I would be so thrilled to meet your best friend and you too. I love your work.

  • Wow, her FAQs really ARE brilliant. Off to peruse more of her site…! :)

  • Like others have said, this *almost* makes me want to have a redo to have Amanda shoot our wedding! So impressed, and love the personality on the site.

  • Bethany

    Amanda is our photographer too — found her here on APW!

    We haven’t met yet either, but my fiancé and I are so pumped to work with her. Photography was our number one priority and I expected us to be buried in researching photographers for a super long time. But once we found Amanda we knew we could stop looking! She answered all our questions, has a great outlook and just seems so nice and cool — this contest is another example of that.

  • Jovi

    Oh lord, I’m only halfway through reading the FUQ and cannot stop cracking up. So brilliant!

    • I’m just thrilled that people actually get my sense of humor.. yay! I feel like I’ve found my people.

  • Christine

    Amanda was our photographer, and I cannot say enough good things! (See for yourself over @ her blog, we were the DC couple.) She made us feel so comfortable, captured amazing moments, and our guests loved her. She never stopped shooting, so we’ve got a treasure trove of great shots to pick from for albums & whatnot. Oh, and she really does bring the funny. Amanda, we love you.

    • Thank you Christine. You guys are a huge part of the inspiration for the nice people contest (they are so totally nice you guys!). I loved every minute of your wedding, but especially just chatting with you over drinks at the end.

  • Tamara Williams Van Horn

    Those first two pictures…that bride is exquisite! Amanda…I’m already married, but if I renew my vows, I may be calling you!

  • lovely post! love the first dress :) is so so beautiful

    • The beautiful lady in the first photo is Moriah, who was married to Kevin in New Orleans this past fall. Her mother MADE that dress. And it was gorgeous.

      • Tamara Van Horn


  • Crystal

    I fell in love at the first pic, signed up for Amanda’s contest before I finished reading the post.. then read her website and came back to the post. Loving her & her pics for serious! Hoping one way or the other she’ll shoot our day!!

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  • Ha. The frequently unasked questions have me laughing my butt off at work. Love it. Slightly bummed my photographer is finalized.

    • Thanks Breannajai for risking a reprimand to read my ramblings!

  • It looks like they had a lot of fun at their wedding.