Want a Guarantee That You’ll Look Happy in Your Wedding Photos? Try Hiring Amanda Summerlin

Atlanta wedding photographer, has sense of humor, will travel (with no added fees)

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Who: Amanda Summerlin Photography

Why: Want to know why all of Amanda Summerlin‘s clients look like they are having the time of their lives in every photo she takes—even the posed ones? Because that’s what happens when your photographer is hilarious and authentic and cares more about you than her portfolio. (Just read this letter to APW right here to see what I’m talking about. Or you can always start with Amanda’s FAQ, FAQ 2, and FUQ pages, which are guaranteed to be the funniest things you’ll read today.) But more than just being funny and nice (and did we mention funny?), Amanda is the living embodiment of letting your actions speak louder than your words. She’s the kind of photographer who’s going to spend more time taking photos of your grandma than of your centerpieces. And she’s the kind of photographer who blogs every wedding because, as she says, “We think all of our clients are gorgeous and all of their weddings are spectacular.”

Where/How Much: Amanda’s always made a point of keeping her rates super transparent (“We are an open book,” she says), so you’ll find everything you need to know right here on her pricing page. A small bird mentioned that she may be raising them in the not so distant future, but if you book now, packages start at $2550. All of Amanda’s packages include free travel within the lower forty-eight states (yes, I said free), plus professionally edited images on a flash drive with a personal use copyright release. And when I say transparent, I mean transparent. Amanda says, “Not only do we post our rates online, but we are now posting our formula for building our wedding photography packages on our website so that no one ever has to send us that awkward ‘can we afford you’ email. Because we think your time is the most valuable thing of all and we never want to waste any of it.”

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You know how you have that one friend in your life who you feel so comfortable with, that you’re never afraid to ask a stupid question because they would never, ever think to judge you? Well, if that exists in photographer form, it’s Amanda Summerlin. Amanda’s judgment-free zone applies to every single aspect of her work, from the transparency on her website to her open book information policy, and most importantly, her photos. Amanda makes it very clear that she’s not shooting for Pinterest, or even her own portfolio. All she cares about is that your wedding photos are awesome and meaningful and representative of the people you love. Amanda says:

From an artistic standpoint, we do a lot of things differently from the average wedding photographer. First, I will always always always spend more time making photos of your grandmother than of the place settings. Don’t get me wrong, I will absolutely get a ton of photos of the flower ball centerpieces and the peony bouquets and all the other gorgeous stuff that you spent months burning your fingers with a hot glue gun to make. AND I will totally make a kick ass ring shot for you. BUT, I will also seek out your grandmother and grandfather and make a portrait of them that you can frame. And one of your parents. And of your baby brother and his wife and your brand new teeny tiny nephew. And when your mom asks if I could pretty please make a photo of her and all her cousins at the reception because this is the first time they’ve been in one room in two decades, I will find a spot that is pretty and gather them up and do a little dance to make them all laugh and smile genuine smiles, and then make a photo that they will all want a copy of.

You see, I’ve been doing this photography thing long enough now that I’ve gotten a few heartbreaking phone calls and emails in recent years asking for photos, because since the wedding a loved one is unexpectedly no longer with us, and could I please find a photo of them because that was the last time a photo was made of them. And forgive me for saying it, because I know you’ve been burning the midnight oil making sixteen of those rustic glittered table signs you found on Pinterest, but no one has ever sent me an email asking for a photo of wedding decor three years after a wedding. So I guess what I’m saying is that I’ve got you covered. When I shoot, I shoot the photos you want to see now, and I also shoot the photos you’ll want to see in five, ten, or twenty years. And after I make those sweet portraits of your loved ones, I’m also gonna get right out there in the middle of the dance floor and get a killer shot of the best man laying on an inflatable dinosaur pool toy spraying beer all over everyone. Because you’re really gonna want to have that photo around for a long time too. Our clients consistently tell us after their wedding that their photos feel like they remember their wedding day feeling. For me, that’s the whole point of what I do. I tell your story in the most honest way I possibly can. Because good wedding photography is a gift you give yourself, and you deserve the best.

Which is why with Amanda Summerlin, you not only get artsy cool photos like this one:

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But you get sock-you-in-the-gut emotional photos like this one too:

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If you’re wondering why a photographer with as much skill and experience as Amanda would do something crazy like offer free travel anywhere in the lower forty-eight states, it’s because for Amanda, this job is about so much more than just taking photos. And she just wants to make it easy for the people who love her work (aka you) to hire her:

I love being constantly surrounded by happy people being their best selves. And being given permission to totally mess with people (one of my recent couples promised me they’d pay extra for incriminating photos of their relatives… bwahaha). But the best thing is that this is the only job I’ve ever had that has made—and continues to make—me a better person. Being around people when they are being their best, most genuine, and loving selves is inspiring. You can’t get that kind of humanity from behind the counter at McDonald’s, which incidentally is the only other thing I’m qualified to do as a proud holder of a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree. On a positive note, that sucker is paid for. Take that Sallie Mae.

And these days, Amanda gets the importance of her job even more, having just married her longtime partner Jessica this past winter. Warning: you’ll probably tear up reading this:

So a funny thing happened last December. Jessica and I got married. We didn’t have a big wedding. We had four guests. It wasn’t how (or when) we were planning to get married. We wanted to wait until we could get married in Georgia, but circumstances were what they were and we needed to do it. So we did it. And even without all the trappings of a typical wedding, it was still a Big Deal. In a way that was completely unexpected to me. I mean, it’s not like I thought getting married wasn’t important. But I thought that having a small wedding that was practically an elopement meant that we would escape all the Big Emotional Stuff. Obviously, I’m an idiot.

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Standing there in that little church with our three children watching, holding Jessica’s hands in mine, I was completely overcome with awe and joy. And when it was my turn to recite my vows, I could barely speak, so I practically whispered them. Everything felt like a dream. It still seems like a dream. We always hoped the day would come that we could be married, but I suspect neither of us really believed it would. In the seven months since Jessie and I got married, I’ve photographed a dozen gorgeous weddings, and I’ve noticed that I’ve changed a bit in the way that I work and experience weddings. Although I would have told you it wasn’t possible, I now see even more beauty in the eyes of our couples and their loved ones. I work a tiny bit more methodically now and I see nuance that I never noticed before. I’m even calmer and more patient than before. And I find that my tummy gets a little tight during the ceremonies, and sometimes I hold my breath, especially when it’s time for the vows.

So if you’re asking yourself right now, “What’s the catch?” here’s the best part: there really is none. Amanda Summerlin is an amazing photographer, who’s been shooting APW weddings since before I even came around, and she’s got the kind of business philosophy that will make you simultaneously weepy and elated because it’s the opposite of all the wedding crazy you’ve experienced so far. And her prices start at $2,550, including free travel throughout the lower forty-eight.

Well, maybe the catch is that if you don’t hire her right now, someone else probably will.

In honor of her love of winter weddings, and since her anniversary is 12/20, AMANDA SUMMERLIN is offering a 12.20% price break to anyone who books a winter wedding for December*, January, or February. Make sure to Check the calendar on the website for availability and then CONTACT AMANDA!

*From Amanda: “Please note that because it’s easier to nail Jell-O to a tree than get somewhere on an airplane during the holidays, we’re blocking out the weekend of 12/25 to local Atlanta weddings only. However, all other weekends are fair game.”

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  • OMG Amanda you had me in tears! I’m so happy that you and Jessica were able to get married. Reading your description just floored me. I gush about you every chance I get. For you to have the opportunity to get married, too, Oh my. My heart is so happy for you.

    Friends, if you’d like to see one of her amazing blog posts about her couples, look here for the blog post she wrote about me and my wife. Truly, it made me cry.

    http://www.amandasummerlin.com/blogindex/2014/04/karen-and-michelle-unitarian-universalist-wedding-in-north-carolina/

    • VKD_Vee

      Never get sick of seeing that red tulle peeking out. :)

      • Aw, thank you. It is a really amazing dress. I loved wearing it.

    • Amanda Summerlin

      Aw Karen! I just love you guys! Thanks for being so awesome.

  • Jenny

    Amanda is the best!!! She was probably a quarter of our wedding budget and worth every single penny! She was lovely to work with and her pictures are art, they are beautiful and they captured the people and place, but more importantly to me, they captured the feeling of that day. I can look back and be transported to that day. They are the only pictures we have hanging up in our apartment and we get compliments on them all the time. You can’t do better!

    • Amanda Summerlin

      Thanks so much Jenny! I’m so glad you love your photos. Your sunset photo is still one of my favorites too.

      • Jenny

        Mine too!

  • Rebecca R. Hall

    Amanda did an SUCH an amazing job with our wedding photos! Can’t recommend her highly enough!! It brings back so many memories every time we look back through our album :)

  • great pictures <3

  • Rachel Diskin

    Well damn! I want to get married again just to hire her :)

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