is behind the camera A LOT! Whether it's capturing a wedding or on assignment for the Sun Journal, she's usually got a camera in hand.
How did you get started in photography?
My grandfather and father were both avid amateur photographers, I have one of the best documented childhoods, at least in the pre-cell phone generations. It was part of the fabric of my life. In high school, my father gave me a manual SLR camera and a friend taught me how to develop film in the bathroom and print photos in the bathtub. None of it seemed unusual, and it was a diversion. I used to set up my camera on a tripod to take photos of myself in multiple exposure acting out different characters in scenes I designed.
I went to college as an art student and concentrated in Ceramics, but I couldn’t get a foothold. It didn’t grab my interest. I dropped out of school and floated aimlessly. In existential angst, I had a conversation with my roommate about what the heck I was going to do with the rest of my life and she asked me why not photography? It had never occurred to me, but I saw that they were offering a photo concentration in the art department at my college. I informally audited the photography classes for two semesters until my professor eventually told me I needed to enroll formally and finish my BFA degree.
What do you love about wedding photography?
I shoot every day full time for a daily newspaper, which I love. But the one thing it does not afford me is the opportunity to dive down deep into my subjects; there just isn’t the time. Photographing a wedding gives me the opportunity to get to know my subjects and all of their quirks and the personality traits that make then who they are as people.
I love learning that one of the Moms is super emotional and apt to start crying at any moment. Once I know this, I am on the watch for it. As soon as I see her dabbing at her eyes, I make sure to get that emotion. This doesn’t mean that I’m not shooting her laughing and having fun, but I absolutely need to get photos of her being emotional. The same thing holds true for the ridiculous Best Man who is cracking jokes and being silly- I learn what the personalities are and that informs my photography.
What is the biggest challenge you face when shooting a wedding?
When clients are super self-conscious, I have to figure out how to get them to stop thinking about me, to let down their guard and just be themselves. It’s not easy to have a big camera in your face all day, and it can be hard to let go of that.But I have my ways. There has never been a wedding where my clients don’t tell me after that they stopped seeing me. Eventually, I become invisible to my clients and they trust that I have their best interests at heart. This is when I get the best images.
What should clients know about your style of photography?
I am a wedding photojournalist. I am interested in revealing true emotion and interactions. If your deepest dream is to look like a princess on your wedding day, I may not be the best fit for you. I am interested in exploring the emotions and relationships between you, your partner, your friends and family.
When you're not behind the camera, what do you like to do?
Ha! I am behind the camera a LOT! But when I’m not, I like to downhill, tele, and cross country ski; whitewater canoe; and go to the movies.
How can the couple help YOU on their wedding day?
They can forget about me! Completely ignore me. Your family and guests will take their cues from you. If you ignore me, everyone else will too.
How has your photography style changed over the years?
My composition has gotten more sophisticated, and my exposure is more deliberate. I went through a phase of using programmable features on my camera, but I have swung back to full manual because I like the control that comes from deciding everything. Since my cameras are in my hand all day every day, the camera feels like an extension of my hands and eyes and I can operate every control without even taking my camera away from my eye.
What sorts of things inspire you when you pick up your camera?
Light, emotion, human interactions. I love photographing people. Still lifes and landscapes have their own challenges and I like to make a beautiful photo of a bouquet, but it just doesn’t get me going like an uncontrolled giggle or a spontaneous high-five.
Where will your business be in the next 5 years?
That somewhat depends on the state of the newspaper industry! I love the balance i have right now - I am working for one of the best daily newspapers in New England, I am shooting a healthy number of weddings every year and am still working on a fine art project of underwater fine art portraits. My life feels perfect right now, just the way it is.
See some of Andree's featured weddings:
2014 Real Maine Wedding of the Year
Jesse & Peter's Newry Wedding
Leslie & Rick's Bethel Wedding