Rory Gordon Photo: Affordable LA Wedding Photography

For a photographer, getting their first wedding is a big damn deal. Even if you’re a super talented photographer, you have to find someone who will trust you with their wedding… when you don’t have a wedding portfolio. This can be tricky. So one of my goals, for quite awhile, has been to get someone their first wedding. And this year, I get to count that on my good deed list (how awesome is that??). Here is the story.

Earlier this year, one of my longest-standing friends Lacey was looking for a wedding photographer, and she didn’t have a ton of cash to spend. After she’d sent me emails full of all the “photographers” (I feel like that word needs to be in quotes, given what I saw on those sites. It was badddd.) she could find in San Diego that cost $1,000 or less, I told her I was taking over. I was going to find her a photographer. Somehow. So the fates intervened, and Rory Gordon emailed me a thank you note, telling me she was a long time reader in LA who was working on starting her own photography business, and she was grateful for APW. I clicked on the link at the end of her post, and I saw a talented photographer who just needed a break. So I asked her if she wanted to shoot her first wedding, and Rory Gordon Photo (the wedding part) was born!

 {One of my secret skills is that I am a little girl whisperer. Also works on babies.}

I was stage managing Lacey’s wedding, so Rory Gordon and I got to know each other pretty well. And I was blown away. Rory was calm in the face of stress. She was calm and a joy to be around. She was everywhere at once. At the end of the day she looked completely worn out and totally happy, and I knew it was a job well done. And then the pictures came in, and I was blown away. This was her first wedding? You’ve got to be kidding.

So, Southern California, it’s your lucky day. I’m thrilled to announce the new and super talented Rory Gordon Photo, serving Southern California (and the rest of the state with affordable travel), with prices starting at just $1,000 for weddings. I know. Ladies and gents, this is building-a-portfolio pricing, and it’s going to last for all of two seconds. So, do it! Get in touch with Rory Gordon Photo right this second. I know this will allow some of you who thought you couldn’t afford wedding photos at all to get really really amazing wedding photos, work with a deeply rad lady, and help her build her business. And that makes me so happy.

Rory’s training is in animation and film, and she works in the film industry in LA. But when she realized how long it was going to take before she could get behind a camera, she decided to go at it on her own because she would die if she couldn’t make things. I asked Rory to tell me a bit about her artistic philosophy, and she told me, “Photography is one of the most important things in my life. Photography tells stories and leaves room for every viewer to take something different. It illuminates events. It illuminates my life too because I see clearer through a camera. The thought of passing that on to couples making a huge commitment to each other is really humbling and it makes me shake in my boots I’m so excited. It’s been a long year and a half for me in the entertainment industry, but the thought that there are so many badass readers on your site and I even have the chance to make a living making art with them is stimulating and exciting.”

But this is the part that made me tear up. Rory says, “Probably the highlight of shooting Lacey and Ric’s wedding for me was the first look. They had a quiet moment, and when Lacey had a few tears I handed her one of my lens clothes to wipe them (which is actually a diamond rag my dad gave me from his business to mine). It was such a great moment. That is the type of wedding photographer I’d like to be: virtually invisible, but an enhancement when I do pop up. And this photo is one I am most proud of because I feel like we made it together.”

I know, right? Sniffle. This is what Rory wanted me to pass on about her brand new (and awesome) business:

  • I’m cheap! My packages start at $1000 for full-scale weddings, with four hours of coverage. My packages and hourly coverage ALWAYS include rights to print images and digital copies. They ain’t yours if you can’t print ’em yourself.
  • I have a huge soft spot for elopements, and I shoot them at an hourly rate of $200.  Plus, I cap out at $800 for elopements because elopements are fun and spontaneous and I want couples to know they can keep me around if the day goes long and they’re not going to break the bank.  That means I shoot after hour four for FREE.
  • Boudoir Photos That Aren’t Skeezy. My two longtime girls Madeline (make up artist) and Erica (hairstylist) recently moved to LA and we’re offering boudoir packages together. More like having a semi-naked party with your girlfriends than taking “sexy photos for someone else.” People should be able to take off their clothes and have fun. $650 includes me, Mad, and Erica for a three hour shoot and one 8×10 print (plus digital images). We’re a really awesome team.
  • I’m kind of a badass!  I do wear kneepads so I can roll around on the floor. I’ve been known to film motorcycles with a motion picture camera in the trunk of an SUV with the door open (can be seen here, if you’re curious). I’d climb on the roof if it meant a great shot. Or hang out a ferris wheel carriage.
  • I’m also a huge imaging science nerd! I worked on test shoots at Kodak in Rochester, NY.  I’ve borrowed a camera directly from Panasonic out here in CA (the AG-AF100. It’s dreamy.) Also, I lucked out and got an really smart in-law who is a lightbulb engineer. We like to bore my husband with technical conversations.
  • I’m not sensitive!  (Other than crying over edits.)  I know a lot of photographers don’t like to get reference photos or shot lists (to each her own), but I actually dig that. My husband is a storyboard artist and I love conceptualizing and planning like he does. I used Pinterest to plan for Lacey’s wedding, which is an awesome resource.
  • I travel to OK and NY for $200 flat!  Why $200? I miss my family in OK and NY and it’s about how much I spend on gas driving to and from OK. I wanted to keep pricing simple. I’m also itching to shoot some Oklahoma brides. I know they’re out there. I bet we’d be friends… Oklahomies even.
So Californians! Oklahomans! New Yorkers! Email Rory Gordon Photo right now. I love, love, love getting to launch businesses and watching you guys support them. Her prices of $1,000 a wedding are not going to last, but while they do, enjoy. I can’t wait to see the magic you make together.
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  • You’re going to learn so much! Good luck on your journey in wedding photography!

  • Dude. Rory. Rock on!

    • Thank you Elissa! Every time I go back to your site I find something new I love :)

  • So excited for you, Rory! That ferris wheel shot is the best.

    • Many thanks, Zach! If you’re ever in California you be sure and give me a holler.

  • mimi

    I’m glad she clarified that she’s offering boudoir packages, because at first I was curious about why the girl in the super-short lace would wear that to a wedding?! Great photos though, and sounds like an amazing deal!

    • Ha! I kind of want to shoot that wedding…

  • Love the shot through the arm!

    • meg


  • Like Rory was, I am! I’m trying to get my photo business off and running… and also trying not to be super intimidated by all the pros in minneapolis. But, this is inspiring! Thanks!!

  • Also! When I was trying to throw my (faux) elopement together in three days, before my guest list exploded into having to feed 20+ people so that I no longer had a photo budget, Rory was WONDERFUL via email. I wanted to reach through my phone while emailing and hug her *so hard* to thank her for her kindness to a frazzle-dee-dee.

    I <3 Rory.

    • You are so sweet! We’ll just have to make up for it with some awesome portraits or something.

  • Katie

    From an LA book club member who met this awesome, affordable photographer — yay Rory! Do it!


    Can I just say HOORAY for this concept? “I really really wanted to do X, and APW made it possible/gave me inspiration, and now I can do it, and everyone at APW can now reap the rewards WHILE helping me build my business”. It just keeps happening, and its amazing and magical and fills my heart with joy.

    • YES. I can’t tell you how excited I am to work with APW couples. In fact I think it calls for a celebratory photo shoot ;)

  • Love these photos, and had a great time meeting Rory at the LA APW book club. I’m very much looking forward to seeing more Rory + APW couples collaborations and the great storytelling in her photos!

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  • Cassandra

    Great photos! But I was a little surprised to see the lingerie shot on the front page as I scrolled down at work earlier. Not embarrassed when my officemate sees me reading a wedding blog but it’s a bit different when it’s (classy) boudoir shots…

  • this is one of my favorite weddings! the couple looks that they are having so much fun! unlike the stiff…emotionless photos I’ve seen LOL.

  • Beautiful photos, Rory! Congratulations on a great start!

    Meg, I love how you use your power for good against the WIC! Getting a start at anything is hard when you have no concrete experience. (Story of my job hunt. *sigh*)

  • I love Rory! I had coffee with her recently and was completely charmed by her authenticity and true love for her art. Oklahomies forevs!