In the short time that I have been a sponsor on APW, I’ve been fortunate to work with a large number of APW couples. Without exception, they have all been really interesting, amazing, and super neat people (to see for yourself, be sure to check out the APW Couples category on my blog… that’s right, there were so many that I made an entire APW category on my blog).
Also without exception, while all the APW couples I’ve worked with have all had gorgeous weddings, each couple has always been much more concerned with making sure their family and guests were enjoying the day instead of obsessing whether the mason jar votives were precisely positioned for maximum compositional impact.
Take a moment and soak that in. In a world full of highly rated reality TV shows that celebrate people behaving worse than a US Senator in an airport bathroom, there’s actually this online community of people with a common bond of Being Decent. That rocks.
In 2012, I offered a wedding photography giveaway for nice people which caused me to have an unexpected epiphany… I realized I had stumbled into what meant most to me as a business person, and as a human in general. The Just For Nice People, Kick Ass Wedding Photography Giveaway made me realize that I really just want to work with people who aren’t selfish asshats, no matter how much money the thoughtless bums might have. It taught me that work is more meaningful when you spend your time with people who consider how their actions might affect others before they act. And I realized that I want to work in an environment of, and spend my life surrounded by, kindness and joy and beauty. (Oh, and I want to make epic photos of super-neat nice people.)
It’s really no surprise that an APW couple won the nice people giveaway. Because APW couples get that being nice is what’s really important, and they get it on a molecular level. It’s not an afterthought with them. And they bring all that and a jar of awesome-sauce to their wedding day. And usually really good beer and food too.
Tasty beer. Yummy food. Really nice people. Who wouldn’t want to work with APW couples?
Describe your artistic approach to weddings?
Wedding photography is like the Olympics of photography. Heck, it’s practically a full contact sport, especially on the dance floor. The amount of preparation that goes into getting ready for a wedding day is insane. And expectations are through the roof. And I’m not just talking about photography.
On wedding day, I show up with all my gear cleaned and prepped and charged. There’s probably Gatorade in my camera bag. There’s definitely some granola bars. And Advil. Lots of Advil. I’m prepared to run, tip-toe, leap, dive, and balance on furniture to get the shot. THE shot. Over and over. Because it’s not just one shot that you need. It’s hundreds. You need portraits that reveal your personalities and your excitement and your joy. You need a photo of the tears streaming down your mom’s face during the ceremony. You need magazine ready food shots of the cookies your brother spent four days making for the dessert bar. You need play by play coverage of the epic cake smash. You need emotional photojournalistic black and whites of the first dance. You need a perfect freeze frame of the groomsmen pelting the groom with the bubble bottles as you make your escape to the getaway car. And you need a shot of your family and guests waving good-bye as the getaway car drives off with the two of you cozily snuggled inside.
But that’s not all. You also need all those shots to be timeless and beautiful and exactly right. Because those photos aren’t just for you. Those photos are for you, your moms, your grandmothers, your children, and your grandchildren. Those photos are the beginning of your recorded history together. They need to show all the love and emotion of the day. And because I understand that you need all those things, I go all out, all day, to tell your unique story in photographs. For you.
Because, ultimately, I’m your time machine. And I never forget that I’m creating a window into your past so that you can relive your wedding day in detail, over and over.
What are your non-work-related hobbies?
You ask that like there’s anything else in life that’s even remotely as interesting or as much fun as photography. Ok, I admit, sometimes I sleep. But only because it’s a biological necessity. And I spend an unhealthy amount of time scanning online auctions for used film cameras and darkroom equipment.
What’s your favorite book?
I have two. The book that made me rethink my approach to work and life is The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Wantby Chris Guillebeau. My other favorite book is my Moleskin sketchbook… whichever one I’m using at the moment.
What’s your favorite movie?
Napoleon Dynamite and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World are my get-stuff-done movies. One of them (usually Napoleon) is always playing on the TV in my studio. In fact, we measure the length of time it takes to complete projects in ‘Napoleons’. For example, “Editing that set of photos took 3 Napoleons.” I’m also absolutely enthralled with Moonrise Kingdom. But probably the awesomest (and most quotable) movie of all time has gotta be The Princess Bride. “Mawwage is watt bwings us togevvaahh today.”
Explain your travel policy:
It’s really simple actually. There are no extra travel fees for any wedding in the continental United States. That’s it. No travel fees. At. All. I like to see new places, so I’m not going to charge you extra if you live in the Lower 48. And if you check out my wish list on the travel page of my website, there’s a list of places I’d like to travel to. If you’re having a wedding in one of those places, I’ll give you a special deal on your wedding photography. I also have a passport and my international travel fees are very reasonable. Just ask.