Authentic Storytelling and Un-Posing with You Are Raven Photography—Serving Atlanta, The South, and Beyond

One of the things I appreciate most about APW sponsors it that they work tirelessly to make sure they are a perfect fit for APW readers. Some sponsors have even built their entire businesses around your values, your priorities, and your needs. (Hint: Those guys rock.)

Today I have the distinct pleasure of reintroducing Raven Shutley of You Are Raven Photography (based out of Atlanta, but with a serious travel bug) to the site. Raven is no stranger to APW. She’s been around these parts for years, first as an intern with and then as a sponsor herself. So why the (re)introduction? It’s because Raven has spent the better part of this year completely revamping You Are Raven Photography so that she is an even more perfect match for APW couples. How do I know this? Because I have the email chains and Skype calls to prove it. Raven has been so dedicated to perfecting her business and making it extra APW-friendly that she peppered me with questions throughout the entire re-launch process, making sure she got everything just right.

But really, as flattered as I was that Raven wanted our opinion on her re-launch, she didn’t really need us. Because the majority of what Raven has done to You Are Raven Photography this year is make it more authentic to Raven, the person. And that’s a really good thing. Raven is someone you want at your wedding, if what you want is a funny, smart, slightly nerdy girl with colorful hair, a wicked dry sense of humor, and a love of storytelling. When Meg and I were first talking about Raven’s sponsored post, the point we kept coming back to is that Raven is our people. She’s the kind of person I don’t mind an hour-long Skype date with, because it’ll be more like hanging out than work. She’s the kind of person we’d want at our own weddings.

When Meg first met Raven at Yay! New York in 2011, she had this to say about her (all of which is still very true):

I was surprised and delighted when Mark told me that he was bringing +Raven, one of their associate photographers, to shoot with them. Yay! I hadn’t met +Raven! I was excited! And then, the morning of the event, I showed up with coffee and a frazzled look on my face, and was greeted by a wry, hilarious Raven… and I was thrilled. (Hint: You can see lots of +Raven in this video of Yay New York that Leah & Mark shot.) Who was this girl? This deadpan, hilarious lady, making all the jokes, and climbing on ladders, making things happen? Who was the girl cracking a joke and then taking a shot with the camera and then cracking another joke? I liked her.

Raven is not going to be the photographer who shows up, meets the requirements of the job, and then cashes her paycheck. She’s the kind of photographer that will hang out with you all day, lighten the mood when your mom stresses you out, and make you feel at ease when you’re uncomfortable in front of the camera. Raven says, “For some people, my philosophy doesn’t match up with theirs, and that’s perfectly fine. They prefer being treated like a number, having very formal and stiff posing and smiles, and getting the same images as the person who came in before them. Those types of people aren’t my clients, and I’m thrilled for them that they have found what makes them happy. My clients, however, know that they and their families are amazing and unique, and deserve better.” Check out the video below for more of what Raven has to say about her philosophy and shooting style.

4 Things That Are Important to Me – from Raven Shutley on Vimeo.

 But my real favorite thing about You Are Raven Photography is a technique called “un-posing.” Raven describes it as:

The best way I can think to describe the way I work is by using the phrase “unposing.” I like to think of the situation like a top, the kind where you pull the string and it runs off at top speed, carried by its own momentum. I set things up, allowing most elements to fall into place naturally, then give the scene its own momentum by working on a feeling or an action with my clients. Even when I do more pose-y shots, I’m still operating under either evoking emotion or asking for movement, never just a stiff pose. I do my absolute best to make sure that the smiles from my clients’ wedding days or sessions with me are completely real. And I’ve got the terrible jokes to prove it.

I know there are a lot of APW readers out there who hate having their photos taken, or who feel like no matter how hard they try, they end up looking like huge dorks in pictures anyway. Raven’s un-posing solves all those problems and gives you natural, authentic photos that tell your story. The real one. Not some BS made up by the wedding industry that makes you feel like a walking mannequin.

You Are Raven’s prices range from $2,500–$3,500 (all her packages include at least six hours of coverage with two photographers and an online viewing gallery). Plus, to celebrate the launch of her new site and portfolio, Raven is offering 20% off any pre-built package to APW readers. Which is an awesome deal. On top of that, You Are Raven also offers really affordable albums and prints (a rare thing in this industry) made out of recycled and reclaimed materials wherever possible. Raven is located just north of Atlanta, but she loves to travel so don’t think she’s out of your reach just because you don’t live in Georgia. Raven will make it happen.

I’m so excited to welcome the new You Are Raven to APW. It’s everything we already loved about Raven to begin with, now even more tailored to what you really want and need from your wedding photography. And if I’m not mistaken, you are going to love her, too.

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  • meg

    I just want to chime in here to say how much I REALLY LIKE Raven personally. Her work is getting crazy good these days (what’s HAPPENING with that girl in the gold dress shot? <3), but Raven is the kind of person that I really really gets hoped for a Northern CA wedding, so we can chilllll. I'd let her crash at my house.

    So anyway, if you feel like I'm someone you'd like hanging out with in real life (which, I'm not everyone's cup of tea, which is more than fine, but you know ;) then you're probably going to really love Raven.

    Plus she's got the slightly nerdy girl thing going on, which I don't. So bonus points for Raven there.

  • Stacy

    That last picture? That’s me and my husband! We’re also the people on the bench in the banner slideshow on her website.

    Raven is THE GREATEST, and we are still amazed that we managed to hire someone so talented and kind and awesome to take our engagement and wedding photos. Good photography was really important to us. So important, in fact, that we booked Raven before we booked anything else, even the venue. Some folks thought we were nuts to hire someone all the way from Atlanta to take our pictures in Columbus, Ohio, but it was really the best decision we made. Now we’ve become friends with her, which is even better. We’re expecting our first baby in February, and we’ll definitely be hiring Raven to make more trips to Columbus in the coming years.

    Hire Raven! You won’t regret it.

    • Catherine McK

      That is an AWESOME picture :)
      Congrats (or fist bump or whatever) on your pending arrival.

      • Stacy

        Thank you! And thank you!

  • I LOVE RAVEN!!! She came with Mark (of as second shooter for our wedding when Leah got all pregnant and couldn’t come :) Raven is absolutely awesome, as a photographer, yeah, but more excellently, as a person. I wish that she lived closer ’cause then we could hang out. Which we totally would.

    And here’s some of her shots from our wedding:

    You rock, Raven. When are you going to come visit?

  • Love your pictures and your philosophy! Keep up the great work!

  • Leah

    We love Raven, tooooo!! Yay Raven!!

  • Claire

    Oooh, Raven rocks! After meeting her at Meg’s Atlanta book party, I flew back to Atlanta for a “boudouir” photo shoot with Raven. I was really nervous and half expected the whole thing to be awkward and slightly cheesy. It was so much fun! After putting me right at ease, Raven was hilarious and had me cracking up and working it the whole time.

    And then she sent me photographs that made me gasp with delight. Great lighting, flattering angles, real smiles and all of it. At the risk of sounding concieted, she made me look (and FEEL) hot! Easily the best pictures I have of myself.