Introducing Matt Gari Foto in Philadelphia & The Tri-State Area

Laid-back and bullshit-free

by Maddie Eisenhart, Chief Revenue Officer

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Sometimes I think hiring a wedding photographer can be exactly like this gift-wrapping scene from Love Actually. Which is to say, there are often lot of unnecessary frills in the experience. And while there’s certainly nothing wrong with frills (I, for one, can’t get enough of stupid luxuries like hotel towel origami), for those who aren’t into the art of presentation, the frilly aspect of hiring a wedding photographer can be downright stressful. Take Michael for example, who just wants to research what he likes and buy it, and stop having to worry about it. Frankly, there aren’t enough wedding vendors catering to the latter market. But today I’m thrilled to introduce you to Matt Gari Foto, your Philadelphia wedding photographer, who is bringing the stress free talent to you. Matt is exactly the photographer you’re looking for if you want someone who is laid-back, fun to hang around with, and who has serious artistic skill, but who isn’t interested in gift wrapping your wedding photography in layers of frills. Matt just wants to shoot the shit out of your love, in a way that will make you experience the moment all over again, fifty years from now. Plus, with unlimited coverage starting at $2,600, you can afford to stop worrying and give into brilliant photography already.

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Even though Matt Gari Foto is new to APW, Matt himself is so earnest and unpretentious about his work that within two seconds of looking at his photos and hearing him talk about his job, I knew everything I need to know about Matt, and I really, really loved him. (I mean, his website is called Do I even need to go on?)

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In those two seconds, I also understand that Matt 100% gets what this job is about. Matt’s simple and refreshingly short introduction goes something like this:

I could give some speech about how I was born to do this. But in all honesty I watched my older brother take pictures, and I just wanted to be like him. My grand-pop gave me my first camera and after that I saw the world differently. A photograph can not only bring you back to a time and a place but can bring you back to a feeling. My name is Matt Gari. I love taking pictures and I basically own a time machine.

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When chatting with Matt, I instantly felt like I could trust him. You know how they say you can’t bullshit a bullshitter? Well with Matt, it’s all the real deal (and I, folks, am a champion bullshitter). Which makes Matt’s explanation of why he does what he does all the more powerful and endearing. He told me, “To be able to relive an entire day through a picture is a special thing. I try to approach every wedding this way. I want to tell your story. Who you are, whom you love, and what you stand for. I want to elicit so much more than a simple sequence of events. I want to capture the little moments—those that make your love real—with the hope that looking back at these moments will bring you back to how you felt on your wedding day.” Plus, in an industry that’s all about your ‘big day,’ Matt Gari Foto understands that your wedding is bigger than the two of you. And he values that APWers understand that too. “I want to work with APW couples, because APW couples are real,” he explained. “Their wedding day is never simply about them. It’s about their family. It’s about their friends. It’s about love. It’s about everything that makes love palpable. The day becomes so deeply personal. As a photographer, I can approach their wedding feeling like I’ve known them for years, when in reality we’ve only met once. There’s that cliché that says “The room stops when I see them.” You can see this with APW couples. For a moment, sometimes more, the couple are completely unaware of the wedding happening around them. That’s when I think to myself, ‘yeah, this is real. ‘”

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What really drives it home for me is the way Matt’s philosophy echoes in his work: nothing overwrought or overworked; just honest moments executed with a straightforward simplicity. Matt says, “My approach is pretty straightforward. I travel light. I don’t use a lot of bulky lighting equipment. I love natural light. I really want things to look as they are. I’m looking for the special moments, a smile, and a laugh. Those are the things I feel like are just as important as a first kiss. Then there’s the dancing. I want every picture to look like “this is the best party I ever been to”. Let’s be honest, weddings are straight up fun. I have been known to be in the middle of the dance floor taking pictures and showing off some killer dance moves.” In short—every moment, and every person matters.

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Also? Matt doesn’t believe in time limits, which means you can get all day coverage starting at just $2,600. (I hope all the New Yorkers in the house are taking note of Matt’s proximity here.) With your unlimited coverage comes 600-1000 high resolution images on a USB drive, an online gallery to be shared with friends, plus 25-35 5×7 prints in a wooden keepsake box (which sounds awesome.)

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The word authentic gets thrown around a lot in the wedding industry, but Matt Gari Foto in Philadelphia honestly lives up to its meaning. So if you’ve been feeling burnt out by all the weddingy-ness of wedding planning, then do yourself a favor and get in touch with Matt Gari Foto. He’ll help you keep it real. No gift wrapping required.

Maddie Eisenhart

Maddie is APW’s Chief Revenue Officer. She’s been writing stories about boys, crushes, and relationships since she was old enough to form shapes into words, but received her formal training (and a BS) from NYU in Entertainment and Mass Media in 2008. She now spends a significant amount of time thinking about trends on the internet and whether flower crowns will be out next year. A Maine native, Maddie currently lives on a pony farm in the Bay Area with her husband, Michael and their mastiff puppy. Current hair color: Purple(ish).

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  • Lindsey d.

    Ugh… every time I read about one of the APW photographers, I feel more and more like I’m getting ripped off by mine. I’m also paying about $2,600 for the full day (well, 7 hours), which seems reasonable. BUT then I have to pay $1,500 for the rights to my images. It’s starting to make my heart hurt.

    • Maddie Eisenhart

      email me? maddie (at) apractical wedding (dot) com

    • Violet

      Hi Lindsey- Oh man, I can sympathize. I was happy with my photographer, so not to say anything about that specifically, but more generally, once I already booked something (and there was a signed contract/down payment/done deal), I learned (the hard way) to avoid posts like this. Elizabeth from Lowe House did some AWESOME posts on timelines- well after ours was already established. I just saw everything I was doing that I could’ve done better if I had only known! Ick. Because of fabulous Elizabeth, who woulda thunk!? So after that I acted like a famous celebrity who “doesn’t read the press” and just, errr, avoided these posts. (If it makes you feel ANY better, our timeline of course was still somewhat sub-optimal, but if anyone cared, no one said anything!) Anyway, I’m always working on trying to accept what I can’t change. It’s hard for me.

      • Lindsey d.

        This sounds like a very good strategy….