I'm so glad you are here to check out some recent work. I'm a Colorado wedding photographer that shoots all around the country. The blog is filled with full wedding and portrait sessions, and includes weddings planning tips and inspiration.
February 26, 2015
It’s inspiring to me that my creative work has touched so many people. Friends and relatives of my clients thank me for capturing special moments they will cherish forever, and I have old acquaintances that I haven’t talked to in YEARS saying they love following my work. It is all very flattering, and I now realize that I have come to a point in my career where I have truly impacted other people’s lives through photographic images. Often, I get asked how I capture the emotion in my pictures. Sometimes the questions come from people who are just starting out in photography, or have been taking pictures for awhile but have yet to reach a certain amount of success, or sometimes they come from old friends just curious about what I’ve seen and done throughout the years. So, I figured I’d share my thinking on a couple of thoughts. Enjoy!
1) How did you originally get interested in photography?
The #1 most asked question. Many of my clients resonated with my statement that I was an artist before I was a photographer. I majored in Studio Art in college. I was originally a painter, drawer, and graphic designer. Like most subjects or classes, you really enjoy the ones where the professor had the most impact on you. If you are like me, you have probably been inspired by a phenomenal teacher. This is probably why I fell in love with photography. My first photography professor was infamous for being demanding and somewhat condescending (i.e. a major jerk)- but in the end, I found him to be the most helpful, professional, critical, honest, and by the way, genius behind the lens. He claimed that you could pass his class with a camera phone, as long as what you produced was ART. No need for fancy gear, or high-tech editing software. His approach was all about lighting and composition. And, quite frankly, that is what has inspired my style. I approach every shoot with artistic composition, and the decisive moment maximizing natural surroundings and natural light. At the end of this professor-student experience, he honored me by including one of my final photos for his personal collection- quite the confidence booster! Shortly after attending his class, I picked up an internship with a local wedding photographer who just so happened to be an old student of my original photography professor. While she held a lot of the same values of photographer as my old professor, her critique-style focused on perfection, but at the same time was heartfelt and sincere. Her heart was so deep; I could see why she enjoyed photographing weddings. I went on a wedding assignment with her once, and it was then when the bride and groom came to her studio to look at their photos and the emotions the images had invoked, that I knew I wanted to follow in her footsteps and become a wedding photographer. That my friends, is my story!!
2) You must see some weird stuff at weddings, huh!? Any runaway brides or major fights!?
The second most asked question! My answer has always been the same, (at least for now!): I have been extremely lucky, *cue knocking on wood.* I have never had a runaway bride, or a messy drunken bridal party, or a ceremony that was three-hours late. No blizzards in San Diego, no cake falling down, no ring lost by the ring bearer. This isn’t to say that bad things don’t happen, but all of my weddings have been amazing. I tell my clients that if that one mis-matched tie that a groomsmen purchased on accident (which HAS happened to me, a few times) is the worst to happen all day, then we are lucky! I do think that a MAJOR part of my wedding-day-drama-free success has been my clients. I have worked with some of the BEST brides and grooms, (and families!). No bridezillas here! I know that some clients are particular with their vision, and they might give me shoot list that is 4 pages long, but it is their wedding and I would expect them to be somewhat demanding! Many of my clients have been planning over a year for their big day, it should be perfect and I do my best to respect their desires.
I work with them closely and have a lot of contact before the wedding to know exactly what they want, and also that they know exactly what to expect from me. I don’t want there to be any surprises on their end- except for that one time the wedding party planned a flash mob for the bride and groom. Now THAT is a surprise I am all for. Like I said, no horrific stories have come my way, but I have seen some amazingly pleasant surprises that are unique to each wedding- and I work hard to capture those special moments!
3) What is your favorite part of the wedding day?
I have two answers for this. My first favorite part of the wedding day is the getting-ready photos. I’ve always felt that if I start out on the right foot for the day, the rest will go smoothly. While everyone is still getting ready for the wedding, there is an excitement in the air. This is my time to get creative! I take detailed hsots of everything during the-getting-ready part of the day; shoes, dress, jewelry, love notes, the rings. When you are looking at your wedding photos 5 or 10 years from now, these are the shots that will bring you back to that day. What were you wearing? What perfume did you use? What was I feeling before I married my soul mate?
But my most favorite part of the day to photograph, are the bride and groom shots. I have a thing for looking through old photographs. Not necessarily my own. I like all old photographs. Not necessarily my own. I like all old photographs. I love looking at my Grandma and Grandpa’s old wedding photos. Whenever I go back home, I find myself in the basement of my Mom and Dad’s house rummaging through old photo albums of when I was a kid, and I always end up stealing a few to bring back to San Diego with me. There is something romantic about photography, and how it brings you back to that moment in time- even if you weren’t there! When I take a photo of a bride and groom on their wedding day, in the back of my mind I always imagine that image framed on the wall of their house or in a photo album, and their children and grandchildren looking at that one singular moment in time. What will they think about when they look at that image? How will it make them feel? Or more importantly, will the photo match the color scheme of their new living room!?!?
4) Can I work for you?
No. Well, maybe. One day…. I do get random emails asking for an internship, or friends who are starting out in photography to come along on a wedding with me to build up their portfolio. While it is all flattering, as for now, the answer will be no. I do not have an intern program. That isn’t to say that one day I might! How else do you think I learned all of my talents?! I worked for MANY photographers in the past; as an intern, an editor, a studio manager, a second shooter, even as an associate photographer. As for now, my business is like a mom and pop shop. I do everything entirely on my own. I book the client, set up meetings, work on their timeline, take the photos, editing them, produce a blog, create the weddings albums, etc. While I COULD hire an assistant to do a lot of this for me, I think the biggest reason I haven’t is because I LIKE doing it! I have a certain vision of how I want the photos/blog/album to look even before I photograph it, and it is very hard for me to give up that artistry and place it into someone else’s hands. When clients look at my work, they are looking at my personal style and artistic eye, and I’m just not ready yet to give that up to someone else to do. I also am a VERY picky person when it comes to finding my second shooters. I worked as a second shooter for maybe 50 weddings before I ever took one as a primary shooter as an associate for another photographer. There is a lot of “wedding etiquette” that must be learned before shooting a wedding, and it is hard for me to explain that to a friend who just wants to come along to build up their portfolio. My clients expect the best out of me and I expect the best out of my second shooters- I don’t just let anyone come tag along! I always ask to see a portfolio, and ask what gear they will be using. I look for that artistic eye, as well as professionalism!
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All photos copyright 2023 Shelly Anderson Photography