Kelly Prizel Photography in the Tri-State Area & NYC

Today we have the final sponsored post of the year, and I could not think of a better note to end 2011’s discussion of vendors and conscious consuming. Today we have a post from Kelly Prizel Photography (in Connecticut, New York City, and the Tri-State Area… and more). She’s a long time APW sponsor, and she is a deeply talented small business owner and photographer. Kelly is such a kick ass reflection of every single APW value. (Mandatory reading: her post on philosophy where she says, “The reason I started in this industry was because I had something to say. Namely, ‘Where are the f*cking gay people? Where are the people of color? Where are the rip-your-heart-out emotionally gorgeous weddings minus the trendy hipster-gear? Where are the over-size-two people?'”) But today’s post is about more than Kelly Prizel Photography. It’s actually a must-read post for everyone. It’s about how her wife helped her survive a hospitalization earlier this year. It’s about why she decided to work with her wife. It’s about partnership, and of course it’s about why she loves working with APW-ers (and why we here at APW deeply, deeply love Kelly). And, on top of all that, meet me at the bottom of the post for a special APW only Kelly Prizel Photography deal. Now Kelly, take us out… last sponsored post for 2011… hit it.

So, most of you all know me from, well, a million places—here & hereeach of these weddings, and this post on choosing gay babies. You may also know me as the founder of So You’re EnGAYged. But I’ve never been a one-woman show, and I want to use this opportunity to talk about being a wife-wife photo team. We may be the only one (like Tigger!).

When I finished art school and decided to open my wedding photography studio, my wife Natalie had already been around for a while. A long while, in fact, since we met when we were 17. At first, she was just the little left-brain voice inside my head making sure I was juggling all my paperwork and remembering to eat lunch (because when I’m editing, seriously, I forget). But this year, she’s become something more.

I’ve been training her for years now to be my second-shooter. Poor thing has seen more contact sheets than most art school kids, and she knows my aesthetic through and through. But she’s also a busy lady in her own right: she’s getting a PhD in English at Yale. (If you want to ask us about bonnets, please do. She’s a Victorianist.) So we were waiting for the right time to make it official. And this season, it felt right to have her, not as a third shooter, but as my primary second-shooter.

You know what? I love working with my wife on wedding days. I love when one of my couples reads an obscure poem that we read at our wedding and making eye contact with her across the room…. and then my promptly sobbing (she’s more composed than I am). I love knowing the person working next to me 100% gets me and supports me as an artist. Having Natalie there makes shooting a wedding a dream because I can communicate wordlessly with her, and I know we’re both looking at the same things. Natalie frees me up because I know she’s thinking about how I would shoot, and allowing me to be more creative than I ever have been. It’s also nice to spend an occasional weekend with her, even if we’re sweating on the dance floor (and not because we’re getting down).

But the real reason I’ve been thinking about what it means to be a wife-wife team this year is because I got really really sick this fall. In-the-hospital-getting-blood-transfusions-nothing-per-orum-waiting-for-emergency-surgery sick. It was a long time coming, and I spent several months shooting through the sickness before the hospitalization. I went into the hospital the night before Natalie’s comprehensive PhD exams. I kicked her ass out long enough to take the exam, but she stayed with me the whole time on this little foam couch thing. She helped me brush my teeth when I didn’t even have the strength to lift my arm. She was answering my cell-phone and talking to clients from the hospital room, and amazingly, she managed to remember all the little details of their weddings, just from living with me and hearing me talk about my amazing couples incessantly. And at that point, I knew she’d become integrated into my business so much that it was clear she was perfect. We were a wife-wife team. She wasn’t just “helping out” anymore. She was shooting photos that were making my mouth water, allowing me to shoot photos that I never could without knowing she had my back, and she was driving me home at the end of the night to snuggle with our surplus of pets.

While I’m very glad that I have an awesome wife, why should you give a fig? Because it means I can be more creative and more deliberate. You might not notice because I’ll still be running around like a ninja at your wedding. But I’m better able to pause, even if just for a nanosecond, and make that fine adjustment that differentiates a great photo from a knock-your-socks-off photo. My APW clients are amazing in that they give me a tremendous amount of creative freedom, and I love that we can collaborate to create aesthetically-interesting, quirky, and emotional stories about love.

A wedding photographer is many things: a photojournalist, fashion photographer, food photographer, cat-herder, etc. But now, Natalie is there to help me be all those things, which gives me more time to be what I want to be, and what you hired me to be: an artist.

Now you know why we love Kelly Prizel Photography. Her amazing outlook, her killer philosophy, and her absolutely blinding talent. But! It gets better. Because she wants to work with You In Particular, her photography prices are super reasonable. Her wedding packages start at $2800. She offers a photobooth (favorite prop, I sh*t you not, is a whip) for $350. Portraits are $450 are good for, “engagements, rock-the-dress/suit/pajamas/Wonder Woman costume sessions, family sessions, and photos of your human and/or furry babies.” Plus, she told me, “Any APW couple that books me for 2012 gets a complimentary Rock The Dress/Suit session. Because I want to play with my APW couples forever.” So go! Browse! Play with Kelly!

And with that, thanks for a wonderful, wonderful 2011, sponsors and readers. You guys make such amazing music together.

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  • When people ask me advice for their upcoming weddings, I tell them to hire Kelly Prizel and if they can’t afford her, to rework their budget. Seriously. Not only is she super fun to play with for photos, the photos are on time, detailed, perfect and gorgeous.

    • Agreed. How often in the sh*tstorm of weddings do you get to feel super stylish and gorgeous AND be super nerdy? Not often, I’ll tell ya.

      Also I’m effing PUMPED that 3 of our pictures are up there. Kelly makes me feel like a rockstar.

  • KWu

    It’s entirely true, hiring Kelly was one of the *best* decisions I made in planning the wedding and I don’t say that lightly, seriously. Hire her!

  • SYE reader here– so glad to hear that you are OK (or at least doing better)!

    • I agree – we’ve been worried!

  • These images are to-die for. Seriously. I’m drooling.

    • Meeeee tooooo. Just gorgeous.

  • Sydney

    Kelly was our photographer and not only did I love her pictures, I loved working with her! So if you live in New England, hire her!

  • Carbon Girl

    Those photos are out of this world!! Want to get married again just to have them shoot the wedding. If I ever move back to the northeast, I am definitely calling for a portrait session!

  • I love Kelly. I love Natalie. They each made major wedding day magic happen for us, in ways that go FAR beyond their stunning photography. I felt lucky to share our wedding with artists, friends, impromptu wedding crisis managers and all around amazing women. Hire Kelly and Natalie. I cannot praise them or their art highly enough.

  • The photo on the playground, where the dress mirrors the slide. <3

  • GUESS WHAT? You’re not the only ones! My wife and I are also a team of photographers. Hooray for lady teams!

    Also, I have loved everything I’ve ever seen by you/you two, so keep that up. You do such wonderful work, and I’m so glad that you are able to support each other through hard things. <3 <3

  • cat

    We’re working on making it to the Nothern Hemisphere sometime nest year to get married in New York, because we’re tired of waiting for it to happen here. When we do I will definitely be in touch! We can’t bring our families and friends with us, obviously, so I definitely give a fig at knowing that people there are also an awesome wife-wife team with a surplus of pets – even if we’re paying you to be there ;)

    (because probably the only *other* people there may well be strangers we pull off the street to be witnesses… unless there are some APW people who might want to volunteer? I don’t know a single person in the USA).

    • meg

      HOLY SHIT WE CAN GET YOU WITNESSES! I only wish I was going to be in town. It’s my dream to be someone’s witness.

      • cat

        The way my savings account is looking, there will be close a year to think about coordinating it!

  • JUST HIRE KELLY. Just go do it. Email her, you won’t be disappointed. You should listen to me- I am 50% of the ice-cream-eating couple at the top of this post. Kelly (& Natalie) are absolutely phenomenal. Kelly is funny, thoughtful, amazingly talented and above all- just so excited for you on your special day. She is so much fun to hang out with (AKA engagement photo session) and she strikes a perfect balance of being somehow never in the way, but always reassuringly present.

    Kelly was hands down, our best wedding decision (you know, other than the one where we decided to get married!) both leading up to the big day (she is super-helpful in the planning department) and on the actual wedding day (this girl knows how to get things done).

    We just got our wedding photos back and I am still drooling.

    • That is a VERY cool photo. :D

  • Kelly is not just an amazing photographer, she’s an amazing human being. I don’t even know if she knows what an incredible influence she’s had on my life. I pretty much became a wedding photographer because Kelly pushed me and said I could do it. When we met, I was so unsure of my direction, if I could handle weddings… and Kelly said, “Are you crazy?! Of course you can do this!” And I am infinitely grateful to her for that, and for her friendship. If I had it to do over, I would hire Kelly to shoot my wedding in a *second.*

  • Kelly, I wish you and your wife complete health from now on! You are such a talent and we all want you around at full capacity.

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  • Love your photography style really catch the moment..well done Kelly