stays true to the essence of photojournalism when photographing weddings. His talents are not lost on his clients or his colleagues.
How did you get started in photography?
I’ve had a camera since I was about 10. But I really started getting serious about photography in college after taking a darkroom course at the University of Maine. Not too long after that I started shooting weddings for friends. In those days it was actually unusual for someone to carry around a camera and take pictures of ordinary daily life. So, being one of those people, it seemed obvious to everyone around me that I must be serious about this photography thing. And if I’m serious, I must be able to photograph a wedding for them!
What do you love about wedding photography?
I think the impression people get about wedding photography is that it’s the same thing over and over. And to a certain extent, it is. Putting on the dress, walking down the aisle, the first kiss, etc. Even the venues start to get repeated again and again. While it might be the 100th time for me, it’s usually the first time for everyone else. And it’s from that perspective that I get my inspiration and approach every part of the day.
What is the biggest challenge you face when shooting a wedding?
I’d have to say the biggest challenge is always light. Having too little, too much, or just coming from the wrong direction can vastly change the mood and meaning of a photograph. A single cloud has saved many a picture.
What should clients know about your style of photography?
I approach weddings as a photo essayist. I want the pictures to have a documentary feel. Having everything overly stylized and set-up does not interest me. I want my pictures to be honest and unique to each couple. If things are over-thought in advance, all weddings start to look alike.
When you're not behind the camera, what do you like to do?
When I’m not behind the camera, I’m still behind the camera. Wedding photography grew out of my everyday approach to personal documentary photography. So it’s not just something I put away when the band stops playing. I also like to fill my days helping my kids with homework, playing guitar, and attempting new recipes in the kitchen.
How can the couple help YOU on their wedding day?
The most helpful thing a couple can do on the wedding day is just relax. Not only will the couple enjoy their day more, but the pictures will be much better. Anxious, stressed out people generally don’t photograph well. Also, adding a little extra time throughout the day takes a little pressure off. No photographer likes to hear “ Ok, you’ve got three minutes. Do your magic.”
How has your photography style changed over the years?
My style hasn’t changed dramatically over the years. I do notice little lulls where I can see where I was trying too hard to do something or was influenced by some fad. So overall, I guess I’m just trying to simplify my approach both physically (less equipment) and mentally (less baggage).
What sorts of things inspire you when you pick up your camera?
I’m inspired by many different things. But to really get down to basics I’d have to say ambiguity is something all my favorite images have in common. I like my music the same way. Creating a little breathing room for interpretation around an image or a song is wonderful when you can achieve it.
Where will your business be in the next 5 years?
I’m not sure where I’ll be in 5 years, business-wise. I honestly don’t think in terms of business. If I did, I’d have to sell lawn mowers or something. I realize it’s not a popular view in our ultra-competitive, “branding seminar” culture. But I have my family, my guitar, and a couple decent cameras. It feels like more than enough.