Matt Schmachtenberg Photography
“Matt made us feel so relaxed and captured every emotion so beautifully. We absolutely love going through our photos to relive all the moments, and we can't wait to make an album that we'll cherish forever. We say it all the time – choosing Matt as our photographer was our best wedding-planning decision."
Photographing happy lovers in new places is my jam, so I don't charge for travel within the continental US. As of 2022, I've photographed weddings in 20 states and it's a personal mission to make that number be "all of them." If you're getting married somewhere more exotic, I'll work with you to minimize travel costs as much as possible.
Elopements are near and dear to my heart, and they've played a bigger role in my business over the past year in light of COVID making large celebrations unsafe. My elopement photography is considerably more affordable than my standard wedding photography rates to reflect the reduced time commitment required, so just reach out and we can put together a personalized package for your intimate celebration of love + connection.
And if you're planning on eloping somewhere awesome in nature, especially in the Pacific Northwest... definitely get in touch!
Describe your business in 1-3 short sentences.
Hi! I’m Matt, a Virginia-based wedding photographer. Documenting happy lovers on new adventures together, whether alone on a windy mountain-side or surrounded by 100 of their dearest friends, is what gives me life. I believe in real, raw, creative, unposed moments and I always strive to leave weddings feeling like my couples + their surrounding communities are my close friends.
I know things have been weird in wedding land for the past couple years thanks to COVID, but I’ve been very grateful to be able to continue shooting sessions + intimate elopements in a safe manner throughout this uncertain time, and would love to document your love in light of all the craziness going on in the world currently.
Why do you want to work with APW couples?
I fell in love with APW because of their dedication to helping couples make weddings “beautiful and meaningful and fun.” In my experience, most other wedding planning sites focus on the “beautiful” and let the “meaningful and fun” fall by the wayside. My main goal as a wedding photographer is not letting couples’ authenticity + personalities get lost in pursuit of perfection & beauty.
Also – the most important thing for me, no matter the specifics of the wedding/couple/celebration, is always connecting with my couples. I don’t want to be just another “wedding vendor” or want you to just be my “wedding couple.” I want us to be friends working together towards the shared goal of creating beautiful documentation of an important moment in your lives together, and I want to be a part of your planning process the entire way. I think most APW couples share this philosophy.
What is your artistic approach to weddings?
Adventurous, unintrusive, and focused on capturing authentic, natural beauty. My main goal at weddings, elopements, and sessions is blending into the background and letting things happen without me carefully orchestrating everything.
When it comes to portrait time, I emphasize actions over poses. There will be lots of: talking, games, laughing, snuggling, and reflection on your relationship. There will be not a lot of: meticulous hand placement. I’m looking to foster genuine emotion and authenticity, which is not easy if I’m telling you “ok, now turn your head 36 degrees east and move your hand up.. down.. up.. down but also maybe left?”
In my eyes, wedding days should be fun, real, & reflective of your personalities, not a day-long photo-shoot.
What are your non-work-related hobbies?
Going on outdoor adventures! Hiking in ethereal, foggy places like Seattle & Scotland (because I’m secretly a woodland deer, AMA). Going on questionably long forest service road bike rides that beg the question “is this actually fun?” Finding further scientific evidence that our cat is, in fact, a dog in disguise. Millennial things like eating avocado toast. Being the living human embodiment of the question “who even likes going to see sad music live?”
What's your favorite book?
My favorite genre is obnoxiously long books that paint vivid, detailed worlds. Two recent favorites are A Little Life and the Overstay. I generally read one of these and then promptly forget about reading entirely for the next year or so. It’s a thing.
What's your favorite movie?
My favorite movies are very dependent on interesting cinematography. A real shocker coming from a photographer! Marriage Story was a recent favorite.
If you could have a one minute dance party at your desk, what song would you pick?
I bless the rains down in Africaaaaaaaaaaaa
Matt was very communicative, highly adaptable, full of great ideas and friendly. His work speaks for itself in terms of beauty, but he is great to work with as well. He went the extra mile (literally) when we chose a space away from our venue to take portraits and the hand written card and packaging of our final product was incredibly detailed and thoughtful. Thanks Matt!
My husband and I are not particularly photogenic. We don't get photographed a lot, we don't LIKE getting photographed, and we never know what to do with our hands when we're getting photographed. None of this mattered with Matt. Despite our awkwardness with a camera around, he was able to capture amazing photos of us that incorporate the surrounding environment. His photos made us look like us, but better. Matt flew out to California twice (once for our engagement shoot, again for our wedding). He was very organized and despite not being local, he had done his research on finding the best locations to shoot. We couldn't have been happier with the photos Matt took and the fact that he's awesome to hang out with is just icing on the (wedding) cake!
My partner and I went into our relationship with Matt pretty nervous - neither of us considered ourselves naturals in front of the camera. He immediately put us at ease and it came through in the gorgeous photographs. He was incredibly communicative throughout the whole process, from booking to the engagement session to the wedding day itself, and I knew I could rest easy that our photographs would be wonderful. It's such a gift to trust your photographer entirely the way we could with Matt, and we are so lucky to have found him!
Matt is a consummate professional - but also, super fun. He totally *got* our vision for our wedding and engagement photos. He was on time (aka super early), had all my notes printed and prepared (because who remembers the group photos on their wedding day?!) and guided us through everything day-of. I already got a little sneak of the photos, and I am so beyond happy. I can't wait to see the rest. I am so happy with our decision to work with Matt!
Matt took my husband + my engagement and wedding photos - and was so so awesome to work with!! He doesn't force poses but allows you + your partner to just be yourself. His photographs capture all the joy of our day and we absolutely LOVE looking back at them. His editing style is perfect- candid + moody + cinematic. If I had to plan everything all over again I would choose Matt again and again!
Just wish we booked a longer time with him!