The South & Beyond

Today is one of those best days ever on APW. It’s a day that we get to announce that a long time photographer of APW weddings has finally set up her very own independent business. Confetti Party Day! Today we get to announce the brand-new business, with awesome lady photographer Raven Shutley. Raven works out of Atlanta, but is offering free travel in AL, FL, GA, NC, SC, TN. Plus, get this. If you’re getting married outside of the US, she’ll come shoot your wedding for free, at cost of expenses. Plus, her full wedding rates start at $2,500, and she focuses on building a custom package with you, that’s just what you want. I know! Awesome.

When Raven was first introduced to APW, she was a staff shooter for Leah And Mark Photography out of Atlanta. She’d literally only shot a handful of weddings, but she was clearly awesome and raring to go. And in true Team Practical fashion, you guys came out of the woodwork and supported the hell out of her. She shot tons of weddings, grew as a photographer, and built her business. Then, last year, when we threw a huge party in New York to celebrate marriage equality, Raven was one of the photographers who volunteered her time (and flew up from Atlanta no less) to shoot the party. And she was awesome. I literally cannot stress that enough. She was hilarious, deadpan, talented, kind. The one that everyone was whispering about in the corners, “Who is that girl? Do you think she’ll be my friend?” And then when I met her again on book tour in Atlanta, it was confirmed. This is a woman you want shooting your wedding.

So as Raven breaks out on her own and establishes her brand new business You Are Raven (cheers from the sidelines!) she wanted to talk a little about her ongoing relationship with APW. Raven told me, “I’m really excited to be back on APW. Not only was I a fan long before I even realized that it was people running the site and not some sort of Norse goddess, but I’ve also continued as a fan throughout my growing relationship with both APW and its readers. I really do look to the blog as a continuation of my local community, and remain convinced that if I were to meet every single person in said community, we would be fast friends. Even though I’m not getting married any time soon—if ever, honestly—but I’m constantly planning my own ‘A Pretend Wedding’ (another APW!) not only because I love planning and budgeting, but because I wanted to know what my clients were going through. I wanted to be able to sympathize about who to invite, who not to invite, how to remain sane, how to put parts of yourselves in the wedding, throwing some ‘traditions’ out the window while introducing your own, not sweating the small stuff, and all the rest. I actually bought a copy of Meg’s book when it came out, and read it, to boot.  And really, part of the reason I read it is simply because I love the APW community, the people behind it, and I always feel like they’re that much closer when I read their words. Community, you’ve been with me since pretty much the beginning, and for that, I cannot thank you enough. And I’m thrilled that you’re here with me for this shift.  Me going out on my own, officially.”

Plus, she’s worked with you guys every step of the way, as she’s built her business and developed her portfolio, and she adores you. She said, “I love APW readers. Not only do they feel like part of my local community, but we all tend to care about similar things. APW readers want everyone happy and smiling. They treat you like one of the family instead of the help. They want to befriend you, and I want to befriend them. They try not to stress. They keep things in perspective. They listen to the amazing advice from the rest of the community. I love working with APW couples because they throw amazing weddings. Not because they had themes that were carried through to the last detail. Not because they had amazing wedding clothes or the best favors. They’re amazing weddings because they’re so filled with love and utter happiness. They know what’s important to them and they infuse everything and everyone with sheer joy.”

But whatever, you guys, let’s get to the meat of the thing and talk about the details of the deals (Deals! Plural!) that You Are Raven wants to offer you. First, for readers celebrating within the continental US: 20% off any package and NO travel fees for anyone in AL, FL, GA, NC, SC, TN for 2012 or 2013 weddings. Plus—I kid you not—readers celebrating outside the continental US: FREE wedding package, the only cost is expenses. This includes main photographer and second shooter; rehearsal and rehearsal dinner coverage; twelve hours of coverage on the wedding day; an online gallery of all hi-res, edited images (for viewing and print ordering); a DVD of all hi-res, edited images; a personal usage release for sharing and future printing; AND a day after/Trash the Dress/bridal session (two hours of shooting, images on DVD, usage release). This travel deal is good for 2012 or 2013 weddings. Expenses include plane, hotel, transportation, and food for two photographers. You’d be crazy not to take her up on this, right? Girlfriend is ready to travel.

But then she’s offering another package, which totally warms my heart. While I, the consummate extrovert, will pose for anyone with a camera ever, I totally understand that for most people on the planet, this is not the case (hello, your wedding is not a show). So for you, Raven is offering The Unposing Package. She describes it this way: “This is a special new package for those who dislike posed images. This package is a solely photojournalistic one (varying degrees of this are welcome, of course, as no one wants the same things!), and includes a full twelve hours of coverage by two photographers, an online gallery, and a DVD with the images and a release for printing for $3000. The offer CAN be combined with the 20% discount.” Rad, right?

But in the end, it all boils down to her images, which get better and better each time I look at them. When describing the way she works, she said, “I believe in capturing people the way they really are. I think that’s when people are at their most beautiful. And that’s how I want to remember things: honestly. I always do my best to ‘unpose’ or not pose at all, and I’ve been taking a more and more photo journalistic approach lately. I’m about real expressions, real smiles (saying ‘cheese’ is against my religion), and real emotions. I also believe in honest editing, even after getting my start as a photo editor. I never want the editing on a photo to stand out more than the photo itself. And I never want people to not recognize themselves because of editing, either.”

Raven Shutley, you guys, of She will make you profoundly happy.

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  • Leah

    Raven makes ME profoundly happy and I love her dearly! Talented, kind, hilarious…. she’s all that and a bag of chips! The British kind. I guess those don’t really come in a bag. Y’all know what I mean. Raven rocks with a side of awesomesauce! I want to get married again so she can shoot my wedding.

  • YESSSSSSSS. Raven shot our wedding, with Mark (of, WOOT!) and she is fabulous.

    I was thinking, when I have money, I will hire her to come hang out with us for a day or a week or a month and maybe take some pictures too, just because.

    • meg

      I would also hire Raven to come hang out with me. I wouldn’t even make her bring her camera. All of this is true.

  • Claire

    Yay Raven!! I am excited to travel to Atlanta for a (non-wedding) photo shoot with Raven.