It’s time to officially present the Brides Best Wedding Photographers in America, our list of the top photographers in the industry. While editing is always a challenge with wedding photography, these pros make our jobs easy: Their images are full of emotion, beautiful composition, and one-of-a-kind artistry that set them above the rest.
What makes these 105 individuals unique is that they are true artists and documentarians behind the lens. They are the people tasked with capturing others’ most important life moments, and who take great pride in that responsibility. Just ask a few why they work in weddings:
Love is beautiful and a personal choice. Each wedding allows me to see a couple's love personified while documenting the official start of their family legacy.
Weddings are magic; they are wild and full of love! It’s a true gift to photograph a wedding. I learn so much about love and life from each couple and family I photograph.
Because of the joy! There are so many unplanned, unrehearsed, and unexpected moments of joy happening and being surrounded by that keeps me coming back again and again.
And, it’s important to note: They all said this after an insane year of weddings, where postponed events were stacked back-to-back with new bookings and photographer’s shooting and editing calendars have been jam-packed. Because, at the end of the day, these 105 top photographers love what they do. Their hearts are in it, so much that they are going above and beyond to capture beauty, love, and celebration in a time when couples need them the most.
Aaron Delesie has been photographing weddings since 2003. Only taking on a handful of weddings a year, Delesie's approach is to give every event "everything we've got." The photographer covers Los Angeles, New York, and Atlanta. He decided to work in weddings because they give him the opportunity to be "incredibly creative." Throughout his time working in weddings, especially throughout 2020, he learned that people are "really resilient."
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “It is so hard for me to identify just one. I would have to say that my favorite part of the process is weaving all of those special moments together to tell a great story. Narrative is so important with still imagery. I know thats not exactly the question but that’s my honest answer.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “I have so many and I love them all. I seriously can not pick one or even five! They each have a thing they do really well so I am constantly changing it up during the day to fit a desired outcome.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “I wish that every couple knew: Wedding photography can be a really fun process and if you can let go of inhibition it's all the better.”
Abby Jiu works in weddings because she gets to join couples for the best moments of their lives. The collective made up of Abby Jiu, Lisa Ziesing, and Meg Lucks aims to capture each couple's individual story. “The first looks, the tears, we're there through it all,” she says. Jiu, based out of Washington D.C., has been in the industry since 2009 and feels her approach to shooting weddings is particularly unique because they are an all-female team who aims to move away from traditional wedding photography. “We use our clients as our muse,” she says. “And we let your unique wedding selections guide our every decision.”
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “That just married moment.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “The Sony A7III and Contax 645.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “Don't make any lists. Just live in the moment and revel in the day. The more that couples overthink the day, the less the photos will feel like them.”
Weddings give Adonye Jaja the opportunity to truly feel like he is living. The Nigerian-born photographer, who has been in the industry since 2009, says “the wonder of life is often expressed at weddings” and that it has become his “pursuit to keep my eyes open to see it and share it with a picture.” Jaja is now based in Denver, Colorado where he runs Adonye Jaja Photography. Weddings allow Jaja to feel at home, saying at a wedding he is “more me than I’ve ever been.” What does Jaja think makes a good wedding photographer? He says a good wedding photographer “has to be able to transition through every style of shooting at the drop of a dime.” It’s a skill Jaja has honed over the years, having shot many weddings where he doesn’t know what to expect going in but comes out with a brand new experience. He says, “This life has so much to offer and weddings are a unique nexus where we are able to experience so much of life in one day.”
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “I've been loving the moments after the ceremony where the couple exhales in elation, it's like right before the rest of the wedding party joins from the recessional. Sometimes there's this overflow of emotion...they might cry, like really cry...or laugh uncontrollably...and it's so real, they forget I'm there and the mysterious happens....family is formed. It's beautiful to witness, I'm tearing up just writing this, ugh I love my job!”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “Any camera that causes me to slow down a bit, finding new silhouettes for wedding imagery is such a challenge (which I'm here for, I literally dream about it). I've found that slowing down and letting my clients breathe brings about moments and shapes that are unique to the industry but extremely personal to my clients.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “I think the answer to this is found in my imagery. I'm found in there.”
Alicia Rinka aims to capture authenticity. “I'm enamored with capturing images that represent my clients true authentic self and the ability to capture history in the making,” she says. Rinka has been shooting weddings since 2017 and uses her photojournalistic style to capture movement and emotion. Based out of Denver, Colorado, Rinka and her team of professionals who make up her company, Alicia Rinka Photography, set out to create artistically curated images from whatever emotion they capture, whether it be embraces, laughter, or tears.
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “Anything that showcases the true nature of the client. whether it be embraces, laughter, tears, and even walking.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “My favorite camera will always be a film camera, specifically a Mamiya 645.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography:“Wedding photography is an investment, photographers in this industry do take great pride in providing each and every client with the imagery that will be held for generations. In terms of etiquette, we're humans and operate with emotion, compassion and with adoration for the work we provide.”
Since 2005, Allan Zepeda has been photographing weddings with a focus on seamlessly capturing authentic moments. What motivated him to start photographing the events was that they were full of emotion. He blends in with the wedding guests so that he can capture real moments with ease. Zepeda wants the couple and their families to feel comfortable around him and his team. Using a combination of film and digital cameras, he describes his style as timeless, natural, and romantic with understated elegance.
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “Ceremonies and toasts!”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “I have many favorites! However, I don't think it's about the camera!”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “When everyone is truly enjoying the day and being in the moment, the best photos are created.”
How often does your wedding photographer have a PhD in neuroscience? After Allen Tsai obtained his impressive degree, he pursued his passion and founded Allen Tsai Photography in Dallas. Since 2011, Tsai has shot numerous destination weddings around the world. Tsai aims to bring a calm and fun presence to his shoots making sure that his clients feel comfortable so they can look natural for the camera. He’s passionate about shooting weddings because he finds fulfillment in documenting such a memorable day in someone’s life. Tsai shoots on both film and digital and describes his work as “effortless, airy, romantic, and dreamy.”
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “All of the candid moments and portraits of the couple right after the ceremony.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “Any of my medium format film cameras. There's just nothing that can replace the aesthetic of medium format film.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “Photos really look better if I can see your faces and expressions instead of the back of your phones.”
Amanda Crean is a Hoosier at heart (Indiana native) who after being raised on “sweet tea and biscuits” moved to Ireland and then to Napa, California where she currently resides. Since 2007, Crean has been photographing weddings with an approach she describes as “effortlessly chic.” She aims to “document natural events as they occur while in a beautiful editorial style and in the best literal and figurative light as possible.” When asked why she works in wedding photography, Crean responded: “I'm a visually driven extrovert who can read a room. What other path could there be?!”
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “Maybe overused, but I don't care - the recessional. Forever and always. The joy, the anticipation, the excitement, the nerves come to a beautiful peak. Pure celebration.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “Any camera that is medium format. Although my Contax 645 usually still wins for depth and richness in tonality.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “Experience and personality matter so incredibly much to the overall enjoyment and success with your photographer. Personally, since my strengths lie in additional elements like styling and lighting, I like to be included as much as possible in the strategic design and planning process so that I can ensure it will be able to be documented as they dream it to be.”
Based in both Chicago and New York City, Amara Ikeji and her team at Amarachi Ikeji Photography take a detail oriented and fashion obsessed approach to shooting weddings. Since 2017, Ikeji has been in the industry and since then she has aimed to create images that she says are “carefully curated, thoughtfully captured and endlessly elegant.” She wants her clients to “look back on their images and not only feel the joy from that moment but to also know all of their special moments were beautifully documented.” Ikeji loves capturing all the minute details and major moments on a wedding day and she does so with a style she describes as “masterful portraiture and intentional experiences with an editorial flair.” What Ikeji says makes her work stand out is her editorial approach which, alongside her eye for details, creates work her clients love.
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “My favorite moment to capture is the morning when all of the details such as the dress, shoes, invitation suite, florals, and more are laid out. For the fashion lover and detail obsessed person that I am, it’s like a kid in the candy store. I love being able to accessorize and pair of my couple’s individual details together to start telling the story of their wedding day.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “Contax 645, hands down! Film has a way of not only producing stunning skin tones and colors it also forces me to slow down and be much more in the moment. Those slower moments are where I capture some of my favorite images from a wedding day.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “Everyone is photogenic!! It’s our job as the photographer to be experts in posing and selecting poses that complement our client’s body types and features.”
Since 2010 Amber Gress, of Amber Gress Photography in Los Angeles, has been a bi-coastal wedding photographer. Having honed her skills in New York City, Gress now shoots with a style she considers a “hybrid of documentary and editorial.” She loves shooting weddings because she feels it gives her a “backstage pass to the world and all of its unique and beautiful ways.” With Gress, you can expect a mix of candids and fun party shots alongside timeless portraits.
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “I love that just got married moment, when the emotions are high and everyone around you feels it.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: "Mirrorless Canon. It’s just insanely beautiful. The images are so sharp and clean, and the dynamic range just takes it to a whole new level. The other fun part is that it hardly makes any noise, so sometimes people don’t even know you’ve taken a photo, which really lends itself to some fun candid moments.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: "I wish that people knew that skipping getting ready photos is not optimal for the photographer, and your final product. I hear so many people say they don’t need getting ready photos, but that moment is time for us all to get to know each other, and develop a rapport that will lend itself to more natural and candid moments.”
Amy and Stuart Bunton of Amy and Stuart Photography have shot weddings for over two decades now, having started in the industry back in 1997. What makes Amy and Stuart particularly unique in the industry is that they are a married couple who have been shooting together since they first met when they attended photography school in Southern California. Each respectively found success, Amy going shooting commercial and fashion and Stuart shooting commercial cinematography. But they always found time to shoot weddings. They prioritize shooting weddings because they say “that is where our heart is and we hate shooting apart from each other.”
Amy and Stuart know every wedding is different so they say “you have to bring it every time and there is no re-do.” Their style vary in that “Amy is more hardcore doc style and Stuart is more directed,” they say. But overall they aim to make images that look “timeless and crafted and that represent our subjects in a way that is true to who they are.”
Our Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: Amy: “The bride before she walks down the aisle with their loved ones.” Stuart: “B&G portraits."
Our Favorite Camera to Shoot On: Amy: “Contax 645 for that classic film look and Fujifilm GFX 50S for digital because it's as close as you can get to the Contax.” Stuart: “Agfa Super Isolette for film because it's compact and makes unique film based images and Fujifilm GFX 50R with a Contax / Zeiss 645 lens for digital because it's as close as you can get to the classic film look with digital.”
What We Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “Post production counts. A thoughtful edit and creative adjustments take time. Increasingly, immediate gratification seems to outweigh craftsmanship.”
Amy Anaiz is a New York City-based photographer who specializes in intimate editorial wedding and portrait photography. Having been in the industry since 2008, Anaiz prides herself on having a fully female team. What gets Anaiz excited about shooting weddings is that every couple she meets has their own unique story and personality. When asked how she would describe her style, Anaiz said she is “focused on connecting with my subjects and capturing the emotion and personality of everyone I work with while using beautiful, flattering light, paying close attention to detail, and ensuring the images are clean." With her photography, Anaiz aims to create beautiful, joyous, and heartfelt imagery that tells a story.
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “The ceremony is my favorite because its the actual act of marriage and the reason everyone is there. I love to see the emotions of parents as they see their children saying I do.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “Canon R5 because the colors are amazing and its razor sharp.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “Find a photographer whose images you really identify with and see yourself in the images. Because what you see is what you're going to get from a photographer. Also make sure to see full portfolio's and just not the one to two images you see of a wedding on social media. It will give you a better idea on how they capture a full day.”
Gina Esposito and Sheena Meekins co-founded Anée Atelier in 2016, but the two best friends have had 18 years of experience in the industry. Based in New York City, Esposito and Meekins work in weddings because they see it as a “unique opportunity to create art out of an incredibly intimate and authentic experience—it’s telling a story through both poetry and prose.” They believe there is an art to reading a room and “knowing how to influence a moment with subtlety and savoir-faire.” They feel that as an interracial duo, they are “acutely aware of cultural, family, and personal dynamics, and we bring an instinctual approach to each couple and event we photograph.” Using both film and digital cameras, they go into every wedding shoot with an adventurous eye and aim to capture a wedding weekend by shooting an “honest narrative that weaves between photojournalistic moments and chic, cover-worthy portraiture.”
Our Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “As photographers, we spend an entire wedding weekend collecting images that attempt to capture the full range of a bride or groom’s multifaceted personalities. But until the beat drops on a couple’s favorite song and they’ve abandoned themselves on the dance floor, or in another moment of unrestrained celebration, you’ve only yet to see a portion of who they truly are. After months of meticulous planning, this all-important moment of joyous abandon is our absolute favorite.”
Our Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “We document all our events on Canon r5 camera bodies. The quick focus of mirrorless technology is truly unmatched and allows us to flow effortlessly between exposures, whether shooting on the brightest days or capturing the low-lit ambiance of an evening affair. We also adore our Contax 645 medium format camera, as the texture of film creates a sense of unparalleled nostalgia that will never be lost on us or our clients.”
What We Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: "Couples should know that the photographers they entrust to capture their wedding will inevitably influence the overall experience as well, lending their energy to the moment and ultimately impacting the memories that accompany each photo into the future. Don’t simply choose your photographer based on talent alone, but on chemistry, comfort, and a shared understanding that the process is just as important as the final product.”
Based out of Houston, Angela Lauren specialized in wedding photography and videography. Having been in the industry since 2016, Lauren’s approach involves her aiming to instill every photograph with the couples’ personality. “I love to make sure there's a variety of candid and authentic moments as well as some fierce photos for my couples who like to stunt a bit,” she says.
Lauren decided to work in weddings because she loves “witnessing other people's family dynamics and their loving energy. I also love being a third wheel/hype man to all of my couples.” Her technique is to keep moving and to be present at all times. “I'm always scanning the room during weddings, not only focusing on the couple but focusing on their loved ones who are rooting for them, loving on them and shedding happy tears for them,” she says.
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “My favorite moment to capture at weddings are the reactions of everyone while the bride begins walking down the aisle. The looks of the groom, parents and friends are always the most heart-warming.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “My favorite camera to use is the Sony A7SIII. This camera is lightweight, very travel friendly and is a great camera for both photo and video. All of the photos and videos are sharp and detailed.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography:“I think my one thing is to let wedding guests know during weddings, we realize that you are super excited for your family or friend who is getting married, but you should be aware of where you are in regards to the photographer, especially during the ceremony. The one thing that can ruin a major memory is having a cell phone or a guest blocking a bride or groom in a photo.”
Avonné Stalling has been photographing weddings for 11 years. Since 2010, the North Carolina-based photographer has trekked across the globe doing, what she says is, “documenting love in pure form.” One of her main aims as a photographer is to capture her subjects in their true forms. “I am obsessed with raw, uninfluenced emotion and that is something that is a staple in my approach to weddings,” she says. She chose to shoot weddings because she feels they are events that bring “sheer happiness” and that since there is love present it a “day that people always look back on.” She uses both digital and film cameras and describes her style as documentary and timeless.
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “The Toasts. Hand down. There's something about a person giving the speech and you don't know what they are going to say. It brings on a roller coaster of raw emotion and I think is the most uninfluenced part of the day. I cry every time a father gets up to speak, it never fails.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “I went and am currently mirrorless at the start of the year (R5 and R6) and I have to say, although they live up to the hype, for wedding days, I love my trusty Canon EOS 5D Mark III and IV. To me, they were an extension of my arm and capture colors and light like no other. They are by far my favorite cameras in the industry.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “One thing I would say, is every photographer has a distinct, trademark style. Really study their work to understand what is popular, and what is on Pinterest may or may not be in the direction you are going in for your photos. Wedding photography is really important and will eventually replace the memory of your day. You should be able to see yourself in their work and the style that they shoot in. Look at different photographers with different styles (light and airy vs dark and moody or flashy and glam vs a film style) and choose what YOU want, not just what is trending.”
Barbarah Perttula has been in the industry since 2017 and admits that she has an ever-changing photography style. As she grows more in her craft and depending on what season of life she is in her style follows suit. Currently she is all about focusing on a moment rather than a pose or a perfect camera technique. “One of my couples' favorite things is seeing images in their galleries of moments that they didn't even know were happening, she says. “And as a documentarian and observer that's my job to give them the full story of their day.” She started shooting weddings because she knows how important photos can be a couple’s life. “Moments don't last and at the end of the photos are all we're left with to relive them,” she says. Currently based in Washington, DC, Perttula is noticing that each year that passes is an improvement on the previous one and teaches her about what fuels her in this industry.
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “Every part of the day is fun, but the moments that get me emotional are the toasts! It's just beautiful hearing loved ones praise your couple on such an intimate level, and it gives me front row seats to the amazing people that they are.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “I've been shooting on a Canon 5D Mark IV primarily because of its higher ISO capability with less noise. As wedding photographers, in particular, this is a useful feature because there are some environments that cannot be controlled with on/off camera flash setups because of time, ability to set up, or just frankly an inability to use these things in certain environments (like in churches where flash photography is often not allowed!!). It's also a reliable equipment that will hold up to wear-and-tear of travel and long work days, not to mention that it keeps you competitive in terms of image quality.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “This is such an amazing industry and I'm glad to see that as photographers we see the importance of educating our couples on things that prove helpful on a wedding day. I think couples are more aware today that having a killer dream vendor team makes all the difference and that by hiring their favorite photographer, they can confidently request that their guests put away their phones to be present in the moment.”
Annabel Braithwaite and Dorothée Brand are the duo behind Belathée Photography. Braithwaite and Brand began shooting weddings in 2004 and since then have aimed to to create a comfortable and fun environment for their clients so that the beauty of the events shine through. Based in New York City and Seattle, Belathée Photography describes their work as “very personable while blending a modern yet classic approach” due to their mix of portraiture, fine art, and lifestyle imagery. What excites them about shooting weddings is the opportunity to “create memories for ‘everyday people’ and being able to make them feel special and beautiful. They also take their feedback from clients seriously. “To get a note that says, ‘We are in tears. You made us and our family and friends look and feel more beautiful than ever before’ is all one could ever wish for as an artist,” they say.
Our Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: "There truly are so many, but we really love the energy and festive feeling of the couple and their guests hitting the dance floor—it's always uplifting and fun to capture."
Our Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “We've been Canon users from our early days on and continue to love the colors and feel of the work we create on our Canons.”
What We Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “It's not a one way street. We all want to create magic together. It's a very personal relationship that we enter as a team. We are by our couples' side for many hours before and during the wedding day. The energy between all parties ideally is comfortable and fun. The photographs will tell that story in the end.”
Based in Flagstaff, Arizona, Cameron Clark describes herself as a risk-taker, an adventurer and an observer. Since 2002, Clark has used her powers of observation to photograph weddings. Clark strives to tell each couples’ story through meaningful personal photos that encompass that particular clients’ personality. Weddings give Clark a reason to do two of her favorite activities: traveling and partying. She describes her style as “classic color and authentic moments” and says she wants her images to feel “timeless” and “not dated or trendy.” She shoots on a digital camera because she can shoot uninterrupted, deliver the images quickly, tone the images in black and white or color and capture incredible sharpness in low lighting situations.
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “I love the dance floor. I am willing to get close and dance my way into the scene. The couple is having fun and extremely relaxed so you can capture images that showcase their party and personality. I have a lot of fun on the dance floor and especially love a live band.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “I switched to Sony cameras in 2019 from twenty years with Canon/Nikon. Sony cameras are so much fun (and much lighter). The autofocus and eye detection is incredible for capturing moments and fast action. I am a prime lens shooter. I love the 35, 55 and 85mm. Most of the day will be shot between those lenses. A favorite combination is my Sony A7III with the 55mm Zeiss lens.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “The more you let go and enjoy the day, the more I can capture storytelling moments. If you cling to a shot list or timeline you will lose the spontaneity that creates space for unknown moments that unfold naturally. I strive less for perfection and more for honesty. Yes, I will set the stage for portraits of the couple; however, it's always the in-between moments my couples fall in love with. The more you allow me into your world and trust me to see the event unfold the better your photos will be.”
Carrie Patterson entered the world of wedding photography in 2006 because of her “passion for creating refined images rich with unfiltered emotion that endure the test of time.” Based in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Patterson applies her love of dramatic landscapes and appreciation of the beauty of nature to her work. She describes herself as thorough and detailed with work that is anything but predictable. Patterson pairs a cache of technical skills and intuition with a passion for honest and genuine experiences and considers her style to be genuine, timeless, and refined.
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “The raw joy of the couple as they make their way down the aisle as newlyweds, the energy as the couple enters their reception, and the timeless tradition of the cake cutting.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “My Holga images are so unique and have set my work apart from the rest for nearly a decade.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “Actual prints will be the best way to share your family legacy. Consider how you, and perhaps your children and grandchildren, will look at your photos 30-40 years from now. Digital technology will continue to evolve and become obsolete, making actual prints and albums ever more important.”
Charla Storey is a Texas-based photographer who founded Charla Storey Photography, a company known for being down-to-earth and “effortlessly effective.” Having been in the industry since 2013, Storey prides herself on her ability to connect with and understand her subjects. This talent gives her the ability to anticipate the moments that are best to preserve and allow them to unfold naturally. She entered the world of wedding photography because she says she loves a ”good story.” She adds: ‘“Telling stories and creatively capturing someone at such an important moment in their story is an honor. I want people to look exactly how the feel, joyful, and in love.”
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “The moment the newlyweds walk back down the aisle! After the kiss, you can see their shoulders drop and each step of the walk back is hand in hand, smiling ear to ear, without a worry in the world. It's the purest moment of joy.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “Contax 645 film and Sony for digital. I love the contrast of the two. One approach has you slow down and anticipate moments, while the other allows you to catch all the little moments in between.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: "Trust your team! Be themselves and let their day unfold naturally so the images tell their unique story. Don’t get caught up in recreating images you’ve seen, rather than capturing the vibe and emotions of your day. Take the Pinterest images as Inspiration and not things to recreate and copy.”
Chaz Cruz’s love of observing people on one of the happiest days of their lives is the reason he became a wedding photographer. The Brooklyn-based photographer has been working in the industry since 2007 and says he likes to approach wedding photography like he's “a kid in a candy store. I want to walk into a wedding wide-eyed and excited by everything I see,” he says. He describes his photography style as . “fun editorial” because he’s “always joking around, so I love making my couples look mad good while also showcasing the fun.”
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “Portrait time! It's the time to allow my couples time to connect and to reflect on the day that they've been planning for.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “I love photographing with my Canon R6's because they're lightweight and allow me to photograph fast, especially when I'm capturing the little moments.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “That the wedding photography process doesn't end once the wedding is over, there is still so much work to do with editing and processing.”
Chi-Chi Onungwa is a Brooklyn-based photographer and founder of Chi-Chi Ari. She moved to New York over a decade ago to pursue a career in fashion, but after years working as a womenswear designer, she decided to switch into a full-time career in photography. Having worked in the industry since 2015, Onungwa has developed a style she describes as “natural, honest, and unassuming. I focus on documenting the unique mood of each wedding in a heartfelt and poetic manner to create images that are timeless and impactful.” What made Onungwa want to become a wedding photographer? She wanted to “document a moment in history that will be passed down to multiple generations” She thinks wedding photography is a “personal and historical piece of art that ties people together like no other medium.”
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “I love the vibe and energy of receptions. By this point in the wedding, the couple is more relaxed and they are ready to just celebrate the moment with their friends and family. I make sure to photograph a few portraits during the reception that accurately depict the moment.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot on: “I shoot mostly with Nikon gear with prime lenses. I love the natural image quality of Nikon.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “Don't be afraid to be yourself and show off in front of the camera. Let your personality shine. Don't hold back!”
Based out of New York City, Christian Oth of Christian Oth Studio, shoots high-end weddings all over the world including most recently in places like Lake Como, Japan, Egypt, China, St. Barth and the South of France. Having been in the industry since 2001, Oth says he got into shooting weddings because of how joyful they are. “I also love meeting people and being there on one of the most important days of their lives,” he adds. “And last but not least, I do love that my clients fly me to the best spots all over the world. Maldives anyone?” Oth shoots on digital only because he says it allows him to “focus on the photography only while keeping our equipment fairly light, yet powerful [enough] to capture the authentic moments.“
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “It usually is the ‘getting ready’ part and the bridal as well as the couple portraits. This is the part where I’m most creative and I like to go to town with my ideas.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “I shoot with Canons and Leicas. The latest generation of cameras allow for more accuracy, quality and faster, more precise shooting. But sometimes, I like to slow down too and mount a manual lens on my Leica.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “Photographing a wedding is a deeply personal experience and it gets so much better when there’s good rapport and communication with the couple and the other creatives all around. Please share your mood board with me in advance—it allows me to pre-visualize your wedding and be more creative.”
Clark Brewer works in wedding photography because "they are a celebration of life." “Weddings reflect the glory of the eternal, he says. “It is a joy to freeze time with my camera and preserve moments that my clients will treasure for years to come.”
The Nashville-based photographer has been in the industry since 2010 and under his company name, Clark Brewer Photography, he shoots weddings all over the world. Brewer wants his images to remind his clients “how much they are loved and how worthy they are to be loved.” With each wedding, Brewer aims to act as one of the guests who is celebrating alongside the couple while simultaneously using his camera to capture genuine moments.
Brewer calls his approach laid back, saying, “I try to enter in without any sort of agenda and hope for the energy of the day to fill me up and inspire me.” He especially loves weddings because they contain “such a natural story element, with such a wide range of emotions…to pose people or to try to fit each wedding into some sort of predetermined template would be such a disservice to my clients. Each client and celebration is unique and I want my photos to reflect that.”
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “Without a doubt the moment the bride and groom are married and recess back down the aisle. This is the climax of the wedding day story and the bride and groom are completely immersed in the moment and have forgotten that I am even there. It is beautiful chaos and I love every moment of it!”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “This is a difficult question as I typically use seven to eight different cameras throughout the wedding day. Each one of them has their own unique look and feel, but if I had to say one, I would probably say my 1950's Rolleiflex TLR. This was my first medium format film camera that I purchased 12 years ago and it is the camera I used when I fell in love with photography. There are only 12 frames on each roll so it really helps me slow down and make each shot count!”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “Hire a seasoned professional that you trust creatively and give them the freedom to capture your day as they see fit. This way you and your fiancé can be present with each other and your guests on one of the most significant days of your life. Make sure to get on the phone, FaceTime or meet in person to ensure that you connect with them personally to ensure they will be a good fit for you and a calming presence on the wedding day.”
With twenty years of experience under her belt, Corbin Gurkin still feels deeply inspired when shooting weddings. “It's what I'm wired to do,” she says. Based out of Stockton, New Jersey, Gurkin, of Corbin Gurkin Photography, aims to evoke genuine feelings over forced poses. She wants her clients to look back on their photos and see a “timeless, authentic, and meaningful narrative of the celebration with a blend of editorially styled moments and chic reportage.” Her inspiration comes from the setting, the fashion, and, what she says is the most important aspect, allowing each couple's story to beautifully unfold. She also looks for inspiration in the unexpected. “In doing so, I'm able to interpret each wedding in its own unique way and bring in a sense of my own creative voice.”
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “I’m particularly drawn to the moments where I get to really embrace a sense of light in my images. When a bride walks into a cascading beam or dappled light against a wall, I like using light as a character in my images. It’s a more subtle way of creating a feeling. There’s a great deal of emotion and narrative in weddings already so sometimes the quiet moments really inspire me.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “The camera models come and go! I'm more focused on the best tool for the moment—sometimes a medium format film camera, sometimes a digital mirrorless camera—and while I think of myself as a technical photographer, perfecting my craft, I'm looking for what will render the image best in that moment. I try very hard to move with the times and not get inhibited by one particular piece of gear.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: "Let me know your must-have shots, but then feel confident to let me do my thing. I make my best work when my client’s trust that they fell in love with my portfolio and they want me to interpret their wedding day in my signature style rather than getting overly weighed down in shot lists. I want my images to be anything but a formula.”
Dennis Roy Coronel prides himself as a “film school graduate who came out a wedding photographer.” Based out of Los Angeles, Coronel founded his eponymous company in 2012 after serendipitously landing a gig for a couple desperately needing a videographer. The experience of raw emotions and energy sucked him into the world of wedding photography and since then he’s never looked back. Using a detail-oriented approach, his main priority is “preserving the essence of your love and celebration weaving together a series of images that remains loyal to your story while bringing a calm and collected energy to your space.” After a decade of shooting weddings, Coronel still loves his job because, as he puts it, "on a regular basis, I get to be an active participant in one of the greatest celebrations of life.”
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “Any moment where I have helped provide my clients with the safe space to be themselves, to look and feel their absolute best and any moment where they're radiating their light and love for one another.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “My cameras are tools and I have to decide which tool is best for the job at hand. I love my Leica Q2 for those candid and charged moments where I can catch motion quickly. My Fujifilm GFX allows me to bring grandeur and an editorial aesthetic to the table, while any one of my film cameras helps bring character and timelessness.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “My biggest advice is to remain present in each moment. Without a doubt, the celebration of your union will become a major production after months of planning with all of your dream vendors. Allow yourself the experience of being fully immersed alongside your partner and make the most of every moment. Rest assured that I will be with you every step of the way guiding you through the documentation of your most memorable moments. How you choose to relive those moments is dependent on how present you remain in them.
For Minh Cao, founder of Du Soleil Photographie, photography is complex and multidimensional language. “A photograph is a text that evokes different interpretations and feelings from different eyes and hearts,” she says.
Born in Vietnam, and now residing in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Cao uses her love of languages and expressions when shooting weddings. Having been in the industry since 2015, she is excited to work in weddings because she loves “finding moments that call out the particular in the couple from the universal of love and family.”
To make this possible, she says she requires a deeper connection with the client. “That connection is yet another part of wedding photography that draws me to this art.” Cao does not view her job as simply taking photographs of the bride and groom, she sees it as an opportunity to create a unique expression of her clients, of who they are “in a way that can’t be translated by memory and words. I want you to be able to wholeheartedly relive the important milestones that you treasure in your lives."
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “Moments of the wedding that you can't foresee. A wedding day is filled from dawn to dusk with big moments: the moment of saying I do, the first kiss, the dance, the toasts, etc. These are worth remembering for everyone, but my favorite parts are the personal moments that are just as important as these but not on the schedule. For example, at one 20-person backyard wedding during the height of COVID last year, the ceremony concluded with everyone from both sides of the family tearing up and embracing each other. After many iterations of the wedding plan, it seemed surreal for them to be able to gather together as one family to celebrate this much anticipated day for the couple. This was such a heartwarming moment that only happened because of the circumstance and the particular bonds of the families, and it was a privilege to witness and capture it.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “My favorite camera to shoot with is the Contax 645. I love that it produces painterly photos that are nostalgic and reminiscent of beautiful memories.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: "We live in a time of much more convenience and immediacy than we've seen historically. This affects many aspects of life, including expectations for photography in terms of the quantity of photos and speed of delivery. Film photography has taught me to appreciate the rewarding feeling of seeing my photos 2-3 weeks after they were taken. The suspension definitely adds to the excitement to see the results. When I open my film scans, it feels like I'm opening a present that I've been waiting a long time to unwrap. Similarly, I'd encourage couples to consider the time waiting for their wedding photos a time to savor and enjoy. With the abundance of cameras in our daily lives, this can set an expectation that photos should likewise be abundant. However, just as a writer selects precise words and phrasing, the photographer chooses the right photos to reflect the wedding day in the final gallery. Ultimately, it's not about the number of photos taken at the celebration, but the moments that resonate with the couple and their family."
Edward Winter is a New York-based photographer who has been working in weddings since 2013. Winter travels around the world to shoot weddings, having worked in Europe, Asia, and Latin America. Winter’s approach to weddings is one he describes as “a friendly and unobtrusive style that allows me to capture candid moments as they naturally occur, while simultaneously tracking the quality of light and environmental details to create a sublime wedding day narrative.”
With an aim to connect people through images, Winter got into wedding photography because the job gives him an “intimate window to people on one of the most emotionally saturated days of their lives.” Favoring an unscripted approach, Winter allows for candid moments and expressions to occur naturally. His process allows individual personalities to shine alongside his editorial details to create an emotional story of the wedding day.
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: "Personal vow readings during the ceremony. Vows are the emotional nucleus of the wedding and the reactions are priceless.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: "I primarily shoot with digital cameras (R5) because they’re fast enough to capture spontaneous, candid expressions like bursts of laughter, hugs, and fleeting glances. I sometimes incorporate film photography if the wedding day timeline and setting permit, using a Contax 645, mostly for portraits. Film photography is easily integrated into my workflow because my digital editing style is already closely aligned with the organic feel of developing real film. Engagement sessions are often a great opportunity for this timeless approach. See these two posts for examples of how I sometimes incorporate film photography into my workflow.
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: "Don’t look at the camera! Instead, just try to tune into the people gathered to support and celebrate you. Come what may, just roll with whatever the day has in store for you and plan a little extra time for this and that.”
Based in Atlanta, Elizabeth Davis of Elizabeth Austin Photography has been a film and digital travel photographer and educator since 2015. She takes pride in creating beautiful images for her clients, saying, “Documenting weddings has always come with great responsibility. Not just to tell a story honestly, but also to make sure to leave a couple with a reminder of how much they love each other for generations to come.” Her experience as a wedding photographer has given her the honor of learning about and documenting different religious ceremonies and cultures, opening her eyes to the fact that there's more we have in common than what separates us.
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “When the couple is getting ready I like to use black and white film. I find that it is the perfect way to capture emotions and to allow the emotion of the moment to be the focal point of the image.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “As an artist, I would absolutely say any of my film cameras because I cannot live without. It’s hard to just choose one so I’m going to say my Contax 645. Film allows me to capture more details that I feel [are] unattainable with digital. Some classic shots just cannot be replicated.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “It takes years to craft and hone your skills. To be able to understand what needs to be captured in order to tell the story of the day.”
Elizabeth Messina considers wedding photos to be family heirlooms that will be passed down from generation to generation. So, for the last 20 years, she’s been approaching her wedding photography with a thoughtful eye. Messina takes as much pride in capturing spontaneous, emotional moments as she does taking styled detail shots because she knows they’re equally important to tell the visual story of a couple’s wedding day.
“I think documenting meaningful moments in people's lives is a privilege,” she says. “I am an artist at heart. I adore creating intimate and impactful photographs that capture the love between people and honor such special time in their lives.”
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “I love capturing moments between the couple, whether it's a quiet moment before the ceremony, a proper portrait or shared laughter later in the day. there is nothing quite as beautiful as two people in love.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “I love my film cameras, especially my CONTAX 645. Film has such a beautiful timeless quality. Lately I have also been working with a FUJI GFX ( a large format digital camera) & I am loving the results.”
What I Wish Everyone About Wedding Photography: “It takes time to create beautiful and meaningful photographs. Work with your photographer (and planner) to ensure you have enough time carved out for things that are important to you.”
Emilia Schobeiri has been a photographer since 2010. Based in Chicago, she also captures destination weddings. “My approach to weddings is to bring a calm energy, find the fun, highlight the fashion, embrace great light when I can find it, and make it when I can’t.”
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “The first few minutes after the ceremony ends are often my favorite. The couple and their families and friends are elated but also the most relaxed they’ve been all day so far, and often it’s the best light of the day as well.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “Whatever camera I'm holding when something fun happens! The gear doesn't matter as much as the moment.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “Couples and guests can do what they want! This season has me wishing every wedding had a dedicated iPhone photo/video person for all the vendors though because everyone needing to individually capture things for their immediate social media ultimately disrupts the professional photo and video teams.”
Eric Kelley is based in Charlottesville, Virginia, and has been a photographer for the last 15 years. He studied fine art with a concentration in photojournalism at the University of Virginia. “When I document weddings, I combine the lasting and timeless precision of fine art with a candid and emotionally intuitive eye to capture the authenticity of the human experience,” he says. “I photograph with film and digital, and my style is to consistently deliver both emotion and movement in the interactions between family and guests and to capture the essence and beauty of the destination and event.”
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “I just love authentic moments. I love smiles and tears brought on by love and gratitude. I also love seeing the couple's style come to life in the decor and destination.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “I use a combination of cameras for the different parts of the wedding day. It all depends on what I am photographing. It's pretty custom to the event.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “You're with your photographer the whole day and for a year before and after your wedding (if you do an album, etc). Make sure they're not only good at their job but that you enjoy their presence and personality. It makes a huge difference. You want to feel ‘put at ease’ on your wedding day and like you're in the hands of a professional who is attuned to your particular needs and wants.”
Erich McVey has been photographing weddings for 13 years. Based in Salem, Oregon, he’s traveled the world working with couples from all walks of life. His approach to capturing weddings is a combination of preparation, but also planning for the unplanned, which allows him to photograph curated portraits as well as once-in-a-lifetime organic moments. “I love that I get to help my clients create images that their families can love and cherish for generations to come. I can't imagine doing anything else.”
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “I really enjoy my time shooting portraits with my clients after the ceremony or at sunset. This is often the couple's best chance to take a quiet few moments together and revel in their newlywed joy. It's also my best opportunity to work with beautiful light and get creative.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “I love my Fuji GFX. It's a really fantastic tool for capturing authentic moments with an editorial vibe. That being said, no artist should be defined by their tool or medium. The secret sauce to every photographer's work is the fact that *they* created it. The person behind the camera is what really defines the images created, and I try to stay true to my artistic eye and trust my instincts no matter what medium I'm using or what camera I have in my hand.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “My hope for couples is that they trust in their photographer's ability to document the day and to encourage their guests to put down their phones, immerse themselves in the celebration and live in the moment. Leave the photography to the professionals and put all of your focus on enjoying this precious time together. Your photos will be all the better for it, and the memories are priceless.”
For the Love of It founder Bryan has been documenting weddings for 12 years. Based in Los Angeles, he leans into his intuition to anticipate the real moments that are naturally unfolding on the big day. Drawn to the unique combination of people, places, and emotions that each wedding day holds, he strives to create images that reflect how a moment feels, not necessarily how it looks. “I use many different cameras and formats, whichever is best to tell the story of each specific moment,” he says.
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “The moments that fill up my chest or make me cry. They vary from wedding to wedding, but the moments that feel the most pure or raw to me are what I am always excited about. It can be when the father of the bride sees his daughter in her wedding gown for the first time, the quiet moment that the newlyweds steal away for themselves right after the ceremony, the last song of the night with everyone's arms around each other in the center of the dance floor singing at the top of their lungs, or any number of moments in between.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “I love the simplicity and unpretentiousness of a Holga. It removes the technical and creates a perfect imperfectness when the moment calls for it.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “I really wish guests understood how distracting their cellphones can be. Visible screens during emotional moments always detracts from the feeling of the photograph, not to mention the experience of those around them.”
Ryan and Heidi Browne are the talented Brooklyn-based creatives behind the well-known collective Forged in the North, a team of six wedding photographers and cinematographers (Ryan, Heidi, Paul, Benett, Tonhya, and Benjamin) who all love getting to capture a couple’s most special moments...and that have all gone on to be recognized as some of the best in the industry, too! What sets Forged in the North apart from other photographers (while simultaneously bringing those within the collective together), is their focus on the spontaneous, heartfelt moments that make each wedding day unique. “We are a club of like-minded artists all cut from the same creative cloth.”
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “Portraits of the couple always feel the most creative. But we also love being surprised in the moment during the ceremony or reception.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “We all shoot with different gear, but the Fujifilm GFX is a favorite.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “Give your photographer two things and they will create amazing work for you: time and trust. We can't do our best work if we are rushed or second guessed.”
Nothing inspires Las Vegas-based photographer Gaby J more than love. After more than 10 years, she still brings a certain excitement that shines through her work when she captures the “gentleness, luminous, and meaningful love” between two people on their wedding day. Her passion for wedding photography has inspired her to think beyond the typical wedding moments. She has started offering bridal boudoir sessions on polaroid film, too! “I utilize boudoir photography as a way to empower women, promote body-positivity, and cultivate self-esteem.”
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “My favorite moment to capture at a wedding is the lovely moments of euphoria immediately after the ceremony, when the couple are being presented to friends and family or walking out together for the first time. Their love and joy take center stage while still the center of attention of the room, and there's nothing like the expressions that are shared between the couple and their guests as they celebrate the climax of the day!”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “My favorite cameras to shoot on wedding days are instant film cameras like Instax and Polaroid. I have a few modified cameras that let me customize my settings even more and take photos that look more detailed than you might expect for this format. I love the perfect imperfections of the film itself. I love giving couples their physical photos at the end of the day, watching them lean in over them together to see and hold them, and having this lasting physical token that takes up real space and isn't just ones and zeros on a memory card. Instant film, like love, is real, actual chemistry going on right before your eyes!”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “One thing I wish couples and their guests knew about wedding photography is just the amount of time it takes to sort, edit, and turn over photos! I understand your excitement to see the photos right away, but please don't expect sneak preview photos right after the wedding—just be patient and it will be worth it! Also, remind the guests to put away cell phones during the ceremony! Cell phones in the hands of guests make my job harder and ruin photos. Get a selfie with the newlyweds afterward if you must, but keep phones off and away during the ceremony.”
Hannah Costello started her wedding career with a bang by capturing Whitney Port and Tim Rosenman’s special day. Since then, the Palm Springs-based photographer has gone on to refine her style to be what it is today: modern yet timeless. This specific style has gained her huge popularity in the industry and she’s even recently expanded her team. She credits her success to always keeping an open mind when it comes to capturing each couple’s big day, especially because each relationship is so different. “The light and the environment are key influences, but more than anything, people are my inspiration.”
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “The moments away from the party with the couple! This is their time to really take it in and enjoy one another without any distractions and I'm so inspired by this space to thrive creatively.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “I shoot on Canon 5D Mark IV’s. I appreciate the colorization and crisp imagery I am able to achieve.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “Everyone attending the wedding is a part of the big day. Dress intentionally, be present, let go and enjoy! With this mindset, the images will be elevated!”
Jeremy Harwell finds inspiration in many places—"love, art, different cultures, great food, and faraway places." The New Yorker-turned-Georgia countryside resident is no stranger to creativity, having spent eight years as creative director for Ralph Lauren's New York stores, and working as a photojournalist. His style is a mix of all of these creative endeavors. "I delight in the way the couple and their families come together to celebrate their beautiful story and join them in the origins of a new family love story,” Harwell says.
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “There is such joy in the moment right after the declaration... ‘I now present for the first time...’”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “Leica M10R, the camera is perfect for reportage and shooting with a rangefinder makes me approach image making and composition in a timeless and deliberate method.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “Great imagery is the only tangible thing that remains, after the wedding celebration.”
Heather Jowett's approach to her clients—she makes offering the best possible service one of the biggest priorities in her business—has landed her at the top of her field, and also as an educator on customer service around the globe. Based in Detroit, Jowett loves to find the "moments, beautiful and candid, big and small" that define a couple's love story. “I try to approach every wedding with an openness to the possibility of any given moment, and I have a strong desire to document it as truthfully and beautifully as possible,” she says.
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “Toasts are always my favorite part of the day. There's something about being present as someone is telling a whole room of people how special the couple is and how much they mean to them. I really just find myself feeling lucky in those moments to be there and to be able to capture that for the couple.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “I am not a gear head at all. I shoot Nikon equipment, because they're the sturdiest cameras and lenses I've found, and I'm clumsy. For myself, the best camera is the one that is going to be able to stand up to the beating that I am going to unintentionally put it through when I'm crawling under tables and jumping over fences, in order to get the shot.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “Hire someone you trust and then don't worry about what you know or don't know. Just trust them to guide you and take care of you.”
Brooklyn-based Heather Waraksa has been capturing weddings with a natural approach for over 15 years. "With each wedding, there is some pre-visualization when it comes to capturing portraiture, location, and details but otherwise I prefer to let the moments unfold naturally and without direction," she says. She ultimately wants the images to show heart, and stand the test of time, saying, “I love creating time capsules of memories that will be shared for generations to come.”
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “The recessional and when everyone is celebratory always leads to an album-worthy moment. That never gets old for me. And then there's the less expected, surprise, and nuanced moments that are most rewarding to capture—the story within the story.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “I love my Rollei. There’s a certain quality to the images that feel instantly nostalgic.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “Being in front of a camera can be an intimate experience, so it’s important to feel comfortable and trust your photographer. Give them all access and consider having them document all the festivities of the weekend. The more opportunity your photographer has to immerse themselves into each of your events, the greater the opportunity for a more personal and rounded story.”
Husband-and-wife team Dana and Zak Curran have been photographing weddings in New England for more than ten years. Boasting a relaxed and intuitive approach to documenting a wedding day, the couple's work shows real emotion—"big heartfelt hugs, quiet loving glances, and belly laughs." "Being a step ahead of what's happening, listening, and focusing on feeling the energy of the room, allows us to be in the right position at the right time to create real family heirlooms," they tell us.
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “The one no one else saw (and grandparents!)”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot on: “The best camera is the one that's with you.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “Hire someone you trust and then trust them.”
Morgan Olsen started In Frames Photography six years ago with a simple approach to weddings. "I remind myself that it's an honor to be witnessing someone's unconditional love and then I let the day flow," Olsen says. The Utah-based creative calls herself a world-traveling wedding photographer. "I'm not your typical wedding photographer," she tells us. "I'm someone who truly invests in my couples and becomes their friend because I want my work to reflect honest moments with a little bit of spice!"
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “All moments are beautiful on a wedding day! We tend to think of the most important parts being ceremonies, first looks, first dances.. but my favorite moments are the ones that happen in the quiet and slowed down parts of the day. The true intimacy of the in between.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “I love my Canon 5d Mark IV! Canon's color profiles add so much to RAW images that when you edit it in post processing, it gives images such depth! Also, my 24mm 1.4 is my go to lens.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “I think the biggest thing I could say to couples and guests is to stay present! Don't worry about the camera, put your phone away, and just be in the moment. Also bring a light and happy energy!”
Volodymyr Ivash has been shooting weddings in New York since 2010 but has shot more than 600 weddings in over 30 countries around the world. "Wedding photography empowers me to discover different cultures, traditions, nationalities," he tells us. “I am passionate about my work and eager to see all our clients pleased with the result of our efforts, and the process itself to be easy and comfortable.”
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “The moment when the bride is walking down the aisle, the moment of the first looks, and the bride father dance, groom mother dance are one of my favorites.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “If you want to create great photos, you just need to understand your couple, you need to be with them on one page. Working with digital and film.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “Trust the wedding photographer!”
London-native Jacqui Cole now calls Tampa, Florida home, and has been capturing weddings all over the world for 12 years. Her approach is to capture honest moments, with a soft touch—all with her clients' vision in mind. As such, Cole and her team are there for their clients every step of the way, working closely with planners and venues to make sure every detail is taken into account. "My team and I strive to not only be our clients’ photographers but also their guides throughout the day to ensure they can relax and enjoy their celebrations," Cole says. “It is a privilege to be continually entrusted with documenting the start of this legacy for each family.”
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “While I strive to document weddings as spontaneously as possible, I love stealing our clients away between the ceremony and reception so it’s just us and beautiful light. This in-between moment lets the bride and groom reflect and look forward, letting me capture their newlywed happiness.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “Using a blend of digital and film cameras, we capture our clients’ wedding day with the best medium that the moment calls for. Being in the moment, finding that beautiful light and adapting to a fast paced timeline make for those iconic photos. I genuinely revel in creating unique art during high pressure situations.”
For twenty years Denver-based duo James Christianson and Otto Schulze have served their clients around the globe with a "vision of the truly exceptional." Composed of five talented artists, their approach combines editorial, documentary, and fine art styles and they aim to "capture clients in their most true form."
Our Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “Any moment that is real and raw and beautiful.”
Our Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “We use Sony cameras for the most part…with these cameras, the artist is only limited by his or her creativity and imagination.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “Build a trusting relationship with your photographer.”
Jenn Emerling started photographing weddings in 2010. The wedding industry’s community of creatives and business owners has continued to fuel her love for collaboration. As a former visual journalist, she uses a documentary approach combined with magic realism. “My goal is for every couple to feel seen in their pictures, so I mindfully create images that transcend cliches and have a timeless quality to them, while always staying true to my aesthetic,” she says. “I pour my entire heart into my work—photography is the best tool I have to share in the humorous, blissful, complex, ordinary and extraordinary nature of humanity.”
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “Without question, the dance party is my favorite moment of a wedding day. I’ve seen the most outrageous, hilarious, surprising, and off-the-wall moments unfold at the end of the night, which is usually why I can’t bring myself to leave even when my hours have lapsed. The dance party is when everyone is uninhibited and expressing their most euphoric self, and I love to insert myself in that wildness.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “After many years I’m still quite keen on my Canon Mark IV: it’s reliable, produces lovely color, and has a great high speed burst mode when I need it. I’m also loving the ability to bring a mirrorless R camera to weddings more often, as the silent shutter can be a helpful tool when trying to honor the sacred space of a ceremony.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “My job goes beyond taking photos: I’m acutely aware of every detail that’s important to my clients, so I do a lot of invisible work to help their wedding day run smoothly. I’ve been known to make mad dashes right before the first look to get eye drops for a bride with allergies, and I personally have pinned the boutonnieres to 90% of the groomsmen I photograph. Sometimes guests and other vendors make assumptions or add more to my plate when I’m already absorbing so much, so it means a lot to me when I feel seen by other colleagues who are also putting in 110 percent right there with me, or a surprise thank you from a guest at the end of the night. That, and photographers don’t work one day a week. During peak season, I work 6 to 7 days a week, and I’m usually burning the candle at both ends right up until the holidays.”
Jenny Fu is a New York City-based wedding photographer. Her approach to a wedding day is to capture the essence of the celebration and catch moments couples may have missed. She loves authentic, natural film photographs and curates every wedding photo to perfection. “I document the experience with depth and energy and incorporate a mix of photojournalism and editorial to blend the big and small moments on a wedding day,” she says.
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “My favorite moment to capture at a wedding is the raw, human emotions—the kind you rarely see on an everyday basis. From excitement and anticipation to tears and pure joy—I help tell my clients the story of their love and deliver them timeless, energetic, spirited wedding photos that they'll revisit time and time again.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “My favorite camera to shoot on a wedding day is the Fujifilm GFX 100S with the 80mm 1.7. The medium format sensor creates beautiful, soft, and classic imagery. Also, the 100-megapixel images aren't bad either. My clients can blow up your wedding images on a billboard if they want to.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “Hiring the right wedding photographer/vendor for you is about vision and trust. The easiest way to get the best possible photos is to enjoy your day the best you can and allow your vendors to do what they do best.”
Husband-and-wife team Jenny and Will Haas makeup the Ohio-based Jenny Haas Photography. As a team, they have captured hundreds of weddings, both domestically and internationally, for over a decade. With a timeless approach that captures grace, beauty, and romanticism, their photography style centers around being present on the wedding day and interacting with people. “I don't want the wedding photos to look stuck in any specific year,” says Haas. “In fact, the medium is irrelevant, the results are all that matter.”
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “The first time the bride and groom see each other. This moment never grows old!”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “I love my Sony a7R! This camera sets me up for success every time with crisp, clean images, and I love the 4x3 crop ratio.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “Photography is art, take time to select an artist that connects your vision to the delivered images.”
Joel Serrato takes a documentarian approach to photographing weddings. The California-based photographer likes to take the time to get to know his clients and make them comfortable, first and foremost, so that he can create the best work for them. "Trust is earned and I make it clear that I’m here for them and they begin to let me in, and i create moments for them," he says.
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “A first look is definitely a special moment to capture. The anticipation of seeing your other half in gorgeous attire surely brings the tears every time.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “I’m loving my Contax 645 film medium format camera and my Alpha 7RIV for digital photos.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “I wish guests knew phones out at the ceremony and throughout the day ruin potential moments of capture. It’s distracting and all I can focus on at the moment while trying to document the day. I’d advise guests to be more present. Enjoying photos you were captured in is a lot more rewarding.”
Jordan Voth has been a Seattle-based photographer since 2013, but often finds himself shooting in the deserts of Arizona, Utah, and California. “I love to include the landscape in my photos as much as possible and find creative ways to frame my couples within it,” he says. “My editing is more true-to-life and on the warmer side (which is also due to shooting in a lot of warmer-looking environments).”
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “I love all aspects of a wedding day, they all have unique moments to look out for and capture. First looks, ceremonies and portraits are some of my favorite moments throughout the day.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “I still love my 5d Mark II so much. It's an oldie but goodie and gets the job done. The colors that camera produces will forever be my favorite.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “That beyond the actual wedding day, a lot of work goes into the final photos and it's important to never rush your photographer.”
Jose Villa's long-standing work in the wedding industry (he's been in the business since 2002) has stood out in this highly competitive market because he focuses on the beauty of the day. After all, he did shoot the iconic images of Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra's beautiful wedding. "For me, it is all about making something beautiful. Ultimately, my goal is to craft vibrant, energetic, fine art images that are as unique as the people in the photographs," Villa says.
Brooklyn-based duo Joshua Dwain Frith and Anyeka Frith are the owners and operators of Joshua Dwain Photography. As wedding photographers for over 11 years and counting, their work is reflective of the rich color and Caribbean influence of the people and culture which surround them. They love storytelling and describe their photography style as "editorial/photo journalistic."
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “First looks and reactions.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “Our favorite Nikon D780. It's just the perfect wedding camera.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “We wish couples understood that time on a wedding day really flies. Yes, the wedding won't start without the couple. However, time lost can never be recouped. The success of your photos is directly related to the time spent on a wedding day.”
New York City-based photographer Judy Pak has been known to produce timeless images that capture the real emotion and true beauty of a wedding since 2010. She combines her background as an attorney with her fine art aesthetic ensuring exceptional attention to detail, professionalism and high quality work. “I have this instinctive pull towards intimate moments that are often too fleeting,” she says. “Not only do I enjoy photographing these special moments, learning my client's stories, meeting interesting guests, being surrounded by family and friends’ abundant love and joy has truly enriched my own personal life.”
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “Getting ready … the anticipation makes for memorable images. Walking down the aisle as a newly married couple … expressions are always natural and filled with overflowing joy.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: "Contax 645."
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “The best artistic work happens when you select a photographer who you can completely trust in their ability, experience, and vision.”
Kaylea Moren, of K.R. Moreno Photography, loves documenting love stories around the world. An avid traveler, Moreno has spent most of her adult life traveling to over 30 countries and primarily living in Europe. “I adore capturing and preserving the memory, heart, and soul of an event, family and couple,” she says. Her goal is to capture every element that comprises a couple’s wedding and journey together. Starting to shoot in 2015, she feels weddings are “monumental in the life and legacy of a family and translating that sentiment into imagery is highly fulfilling.” Moreno aims to compose every image so that it “stands on its own,” which she says “lends to a unique editorial feel.”
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “I come alive photographing couples portraits.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “My Contax 645 medium format film camera is my go to. I am drawn to the nostalgia and enduring beauty of the images I am able to create with it.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “That no idea ( i.e. location, activity etc.) is off the table if prioritized and planned properly. Your images can be anything you want them to be if you are communicating, dreaming and working with your photographer and planning team to get exactly what you are envisioning.”
Kaley Kocinski, aka Kaley from Kansas, is a destination wedding photographer based in, you guessed it, Kansas City. Kocinski has been photographing weddings since 2012 and with each shoot aims to cultivate a documentary, cinematic approach. This includes a focus on human connection, light and perspective.
She feels most creative when shooting Intimate weddings and elopements and feels that every wedding offers an entirely new experience. She says it’s a chance for her to “honor their legacy and make photographs that are artful and honest.” Kocinski doesn’t mind getting a little weird with her photography because she feels it offers a new perspective.. “I believe my photos stand out because they evoke feeling,” she says. “They tend to be emotive and soft, utilizing different types of light, are beautifully composed and have a story to them.”
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “The recessional (such a happy moment + cannot be recreated!) as well as blue hour/twilight—I love the moodiness and emotion that you get just from the light, not to mention they end up being some of my couples favorites.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot on: “Canon 5D Mark IV. It makes for great photos because of its versatility, it does well in low light and Canon is known for its creaminess which I absolutely love.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “That trust is KEY. You need to allow your photographer the artistic freedom and choice to really document your day as it unfolds naturally. I wish the guests knew that every photographer is human and we aren't all the same.”
With an aim to evoke an effervescent nostalgia, Kate Headley, is making a name for herself as one of the most talented photographers working. Starting in 2008, Headley has shot weddings in Washington, D.C., Michigan, and along the East Coast of the United States. Her goal is to incorporate a sense of time, place, and movement in her work. "I capture the ephemeral moments of radiance, love and togetherness with an effervescent and timeless style that you can relive and enjoy the rest of your lives,” she says. She adds that it’s an honor to be part of someone's family story.
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “The in-between moment.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “My 1962 Rolleiflex—the images feel timeless and tell a story all on their own.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “Every client says to me ‘I'm not photogenic!’ on our initial phone call. If you like what you are seeing on the photographer's site, they most likely brought it out of the people who were just as camera shy as you were initially.”
With a storyteller’s approach to photography, Kiyah Crittendon mixes creativity with truthfulness when she’s taking wedding photos. As the owner of Kiyah C Photography since 2014, the Atlanta and Washington, D.C.-based Crittendon has traveled around the United States and Europe to document weddings. She says she works weddings because of “the joy.” She says “There are so many unplanned, unrehearsed, and unexpected moments of joy happening and being surrounded by that keeps me coming back again and again.” She describes her style as a “seamless combination of candid photojournalism and magazine-worthy editorial work with an emphasis on truth, beauty, and people.” Using her film cameras Crittendon says she can capture light, colors, and skin tones in a timeless and breathtaking way while being “incredibly intentional about every click of the shutter.” She also loves the way “a grainy, imperfect film image floods the heart with nostalgia. With her digital cameras she captures “more moments at a faster pace which helps me be a quiet 'fly on the wall' when needed.”
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “My favorite moment to capture at a wedding is when the bride and groom exit after their ceremony. I love how every couple is so different in this moment! Sometimes they dance together down the aisle, sometimes the groom will high five people, sometimes everyone throws flower petals at them, sometimes they kiss again as they exit. It's always such a joyful few seconds to photograph.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “Choosing a favorite camera is like choosing a favorite child! It's nearly impossible because of how great they all are. This year, I started to bring a 35mm point-and-shoot Nikon L35 AF film camera with me to weddings, and it's been such a fun way to take quick snapshots throughout the day. I don't have to worry about any settings, it pops up a little flash in low light situations, and I've even handed it off to a ring bearer to let him take a few photos himself! Every time I get the film developed, I love how the images feel like I'm living in the ‘90s all over again.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “I wish people knew that we aren't holding their photos hostage! Whenever it takes weeks or months to send the final images, it isn't because we are dilly-dallying or wanting our clients to wait forever; it's because of the intentionality, processes, and artistry that takes place after the photos are taken. While it may seem simple to ask when the photos will be ready or to see some previews right after the wedding, patience is a virtue, and it means a lot to us when you trust us to take our time!”
Kristen Marie Parker wants the newly married couples she shoots to live in the moment. Hailing from Seattle, Washington, since 2009 Parker blends photojournalism with her editorial eye to capture what she calls the "casual timelessness" of weddings. She says her goal is to “make sure that everyone can still be immersed in the flow of the emotions and adrenaline of the day without making it feel like a photography production.” With over a decade of experience behind her, Parker approaches every wedding differently. "There are so many moments that go on through decades of relationships and a huge variety of personality types,” she says. “Despite many weddings having the same structure of events, each wedding is completely different because the couple is different."
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: "A big tie between those first few moments in celebration as a married couple and any moments that might happen between family throughout the day. I know that parents and family members have been dreaming up their special day for many years and that their own witnessing of the day is just as important to document as the couple’s."
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “Lately, I've been accompanying my Nikon D850 digital images with a point and shoot 35mm camera when I can, and it's been such a fun way to capture a more nostalgic experience of the day. They liken to old family photos from the ‘90s and what your loved ones would document Christmas morning with.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “Being in the moment and unaware of the camera produces the most genuine imagery. Live through each event and soak up every minute that happens, so that the images actually remind you how you felt.”
Weddings bring life to photographer KT Merry. Merry started shooting weddings in 2011 and since then has shot exclusive destination weddings, editorials, and bridal campaigns across the globe for designers like Monique Lhuillier. Working alongside her husband and business partner, Chad, and a small team of dedicated professionals, Merry craves three things: adventure, dirty martinis, and long runs in new places. She says weddings in particular make her soul come alive and when she’s creating she’s “inspired by the uniqueness of each couple and event I photograph. Being invited into people's lives, culture's and most important moments is nothing short of thrilling.”
Her preference is to “direct, compose and curate while still allowing spontaneity to lead the way.” She says her many years of wedding experience allow her to “let the day naturally unfold to best tell the story and experience of each couple without missing a beat.” She believes that couples shouldn’t have to choose between directed, composed portraits or photo journalistic shots, so she shoots both. “The result is a textured story that captures the essence of the couple and the spirit of the day in complementing visual layers.” Merry says she’s best known for her “natural, ethereal, painterly wedding portraits that freeze time and emotion.”
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “Spontaneous moment: coming back up the aisle after the first kiss, it's always unbridled authentic joy (and often relief!). Composed moment: portraits of the couple. Creating editorial inspired portraits that feel they should belong in a fashion magazine is always something I'm inspired to do.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “I certainly can't pick a favorite! At weddings you'll typically find me with three camera strung to my shoulders, typically two film cameras and a digital. I use the best tool for each given scenario and love the different results each medium offers.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “That if you hire your dream team, listen to their suggestions on timing and photographs. The most successful wedding days (and wedding photography) start with a solid plan and timeline. The magic doesn’t just happen. Thoughtful preparation, planning, timelines, location scouting, and styling all come together to create it.”
Originally on track to becoming a physician, Chicago native Kyle Wheeler took a different path after meeting his wife, ironically at a wedding. Having a wife based in Denmark got Wheeler to travel back and forth from Europe to North America, ultimately discovering photography as a profession, moving from photojournalism to weddings. Something about photographing weddings just felt right to him and since 2005 he’s been in the industry.
Over a decade later, Wheeler has shot weddings around the world and says his approach remains the same: “Capture you as you are. Preserving your day and the beautiful moments in between, to last a lifetime.” He credits his photographer and artist mentors for where he is today.
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “The quiet interactions in between. The hidden hand hold, the gentle kiss, the sweet tears of joy shared between the bride and her 95 year old grandmother.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “HASSELBLAD X1D II.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “Know your photographer. Connect with them, get to know them.”
Lacie Hansen likes to wait for the moments. The California-based photographer has been shooting weddings since 2009, mostly on film, and wants her clients to know that she doesn’t shoot just for the sake of shooting. She waits to capture the special moments. “I love documenting people and life's moments,” she says. She describes her photography style as “timeless” and “journalistic” and her goal when shooting weddings is for her clients to “feel the emotion behind each photo.”
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “The in-between moments. The candidness of a wedding when no one knows you are there and you capture pure genuine emotion.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “My favorite camera is my 35mm Canon IV with a 35mm 1.4 lens. I shoot all my black and white images on this camera.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “How involved it is! From the technique of framing and creating each shot to the time afterwards for editing and putting everything together beautifully for our clients.”
Having first taken up photography at the age of 13, Larissa Cleveland went on to become classically trained in both film and digital mediums. Cleveland’s greatest passion is photographing people. “I consider it a privilege to document and create joyful, vibrant, thoughtful and emotive memories for my wedding clients,” she says. Cleveland first started shooting in 2003 and aims to help couples capture on camera the joy and love they experience and is proud to be the one taking photos they will look back on years later. She describes her style as a “unique blend of photojournalism, effortless portraiture and editorial style resulting in images that are timeless and modern in the same breath.” Cleveland wants her pictures to evoke emotions and tell a story.
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “My favorite moment might be just after the ceremony has ended...The couple walks down the aisle hand in hand after they have proclaimed 'I Do,' their family cheering, endless hugging, happy tears, and a big sigh of relief...It all happens in a momentary flurry, but it is when I often capture some of the most powerful and emotion-packed images from a wedding day.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “I shoot with several different types of cameras. Each is great for specific situations, so it's difficult to choose just one I like best overall. I personally believe it's less about the gear, and more about the perspective, and 'artistic eye' of the person behind the lens that makes for great photography.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “Truly outstanding photography is a collaboration between the photographer and subject. It’s so important to choose a photographer who’s vision you trust, and feel comfortable with for your wedding. Your photographer will spend the majority of your wedding day close by your side, for some very intimate moments. You want to feel at ease with them, and also confident they are making the right decisions to produce the best work. The last thing you want to be worried about is what they are up to, or how things are turning out. Just relax, and allow them to be a part of those moments. Take their direction when they give it, and let your guard down. In my experience, this is when the most stunning and meaningful imagery is created.”
Laura Gordon holds herself to high standards. Based out of Richmond, Virginia, Gordon feels every image she creates for a wedding must feel “beautiful, true, and poetic.” Having shot weddings since 2009, Gordon takes a relaxed approach with couples, pairing her ability to see and feel the emotion on the big day to create a distinct style that she describes as a “painterly expression of moments.” What makes Gordon such a special photographer is that she is fully devoted to preserving the feelings and emotions felt throughout a wedding day. “Through careful observation and great attention to detail, I am able to create a beautiful and authentic narrative,” she says. “I draw my inspiration from the way I feel while I’m shooting. I allow the setting, the smells, the sounds, the mood, the people, and most importantly my couple to fully envelop me as I work.”
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “The Bride getting into her dress immediately stands out to me as one of my favorites! This is usually the moment where things begin to settle in and feel, “real.” It can be both emotional and exciting as many Brides have been dreaming about this moment their entire lives. They feel the most beautiful they've ever felt and experiencing that reaction between a Bride, her family, or her friends is one of the most meaningful things I could photograph.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “The Contax 645, because I love that it allows me to be fully present while I’m photographing. It forces me to take my time in making thoughtful compositions and an additional layer of detail goes into each image.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “Trust the process! When a couple chooses me to photograph their wedding, I want them to let go and trust me to do what I do. I love weddings, I love people, and I love shooting so much. I care deeply about the people I photograph and the work I create for them, I want them to enjoy every second!”
Laura Murray embraces the unexpected. With a degree in Theoretical Mathematics and a few years of corporate experience under her belt, Murray pivoted her career to photography after discovering her love for the art form while planning her own wedding—and has never looked back. Full-time since 2010, the photographer aims to preserve the happiest moments in her clients' lives. “A photograph can allow you to relive a moment again and again, long after it's gone,” explains Murray. And that commitment to memory-making is what makes her work so special. She embraces serendipity and joy, and her favorite photos often capture an unplanned moment.
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “My favorite moment to capture is anything unexpected. If I've learned anything lately, it's that you can make all the plans in the world but not everything will go as you intend. However the detours can be just as beautiful (and sometimes even better!) as the original plan.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “I will always love my Contax 645 as it's been my main camera for almost a decade. However I'm pretty excited about a new Sony mirrorless camera that I just started using.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: "A piece of advice I would give a couple is to build a solid vendor team th you trust. You can relax even if the weather isn’t cooperating (because your team already has an amazing Plan B in motion). If you trust your full vendor team, you can be more carefree and that will show through in the photographs - the camera can see when you are stressed! I recommend that you spend your time and energy on the wedding day living in the moment, being present with the people you love, and taking in the beautiful backdrop you've chosen for your wedding day.”
Photography duo Abby and Lauren Ross are sisters born and raised in Vermont. Currently they’re busy photographing weddings and raising their respective families in California. With a mission to make their clients as comfortable as possible, the sisters are all about trusting the process.
Their photography style (“candid, editorial, energetic, and emotional”) stems from their approach: letting the wedding day naturally unfold and capturing moments naturally. The result? Intimate, emotional photos that preserve real memories from clients’ special day.
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: "The real moments are best, we also love a quick escape with the couple during golden hour."
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “As Sam Haskins once said, 'A photographer went to a socialite party in New York. As he entered the front door, the host said 'I love your pictures—they're wonderful; you must have a fantastic camera.' He said nothing until dinner was finished, then: 'That was a wonderful dinner; you must have a terrific stove.'"
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: "We wish for every couple to trust in the process and be present as the day unfolds. This is how we get the best results."
Lauren Fair is as versatile as it gets. The photographer, who shot her first wedding in 2009, loves the fast-paced nature of the business. She’s as comfortable shooting on film as she is crafting a perfect digital portrait, and loves getting creative with her clients.
A lover of travel with a special affinity for the south of France, Fair sums up her photography style as "joyful, editorial, stylish images full of beautiful light and natural emotion." "I specialize in iconic, exquisite, joy-filled weddings both in the Northeast and destinations around the world," she adds. "Setting my clients at ease is a top priority, and I'd describe my work as effortlessly elegant".
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “The recessional, sunset portraits of the couple, and the first dance.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “My Contax 645 is my go-to camera for my film imagery—I love the creamy, delicate texture of the Zeiss lens paired with Fuji400h film. I also shoot on the Sony a7RIV for digital and absolutely love the highlight retention & film-like rendering.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “That great photos don't sometimes just happen—a truly good photographer can help guide and shape the end result of a gallery just by giving the right emotion-driven prompts!”
According to Laurken Kendall, photography is all about empathy. “I put all of my energy into understanding my couples as human beings, together and separately, taking extra steps to develop a real relationship with them,” says the Spokane, Washington-based photographer. This ability to put herself in a couples’ shoes lends her photos a special quality and a distinctiveness to each wedding she takes on.
After all, no two weddings are alike, and Kendall understands that thoroughly. Celebrating individuality and embracing each couple’s unique perspective is core to her approach, and essential to the expressive and emotional nature of her body of work.
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “I love the reception for its unpredictability and exuberant anarchy. Its the most interesting part of the day for me, because the timeline has mostly been satisfied and all thats left is the unscheduled cocktail fueled wild rumpus.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “I think beautiful photos can be made with any camera as long as there is an understanding of the mechanics, but I am a lifelong Nikon user and prefer their 810 or 850 series.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “That you truly get what you pay for. Wedding photography is an investment for a reason. You're not only dealing with the breadth of experience which can make a huge difference in how your day plays out (from timeline consulting to snap decision making the day of) but also the capability of the photography to work in all types of lighting. Also that the amount of time we spend with them on the day of is only 1/5 or more of the time we spend on the back end, working on their photos and prepping for their day.”
Ronye and Dom, otherwise known as Light & Legacy Co. are a husband and wife team based in Austin, Texas. The couple has traveled the world doing what they love together: photographing weddings. Their unique approach boils down to capturing every couple’s love story. “Our clients legacy matters to us and our goal is to provide an unforgettable experience while pouring into each couple we meet,” says the team.
The duo’s style is a hybrid between an editorial and photojournalistic approach. They aim to capture high-impact details as well as candid in-between moments for the couple and their loved one’s to look back on. “After the cake is eaten and the formal send-off is complete, images are what's left to remember the day for years to come. There aren't any redos when it comes to a wedding day.”
Our Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “Our favorite moments to capture at a wedding are the moments leading up to the ceremony and the intimate couple's portrait session following. It is truly beautiful to witness the love, excitement, and joy they have as they become one. To have the opportunity to tell their story is a privilege and honor for us.”
Our Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “Our favorite camera to shoot on for a wedding day is hands down our Canon 5D Mark IV. As wedding photographers it is important for us to have a camera that is reliable in any lighting situation and capture small details exceptionally.”
What We Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “Quality matters. After the cake is eaten & the formal send-off is complete, images are what's left to remember the day for years to come. There aren't any redos when it comes to a wedding day. Therefore, having a trusted professional photographer who will excel in both experience and the images they provide will be worthwhile.”
Linda McQueen loves celebrating love. The photographer, who started shooting weddings in 2014, is all about capturing joy and celebration. With a modern style and delicate touch, she aims to capture her clients’ special day as it naturally unfolds.
“I truly enjoy watching others celebrate their union,” says McQueen—and it shows. Her work bears witness to the love and happiness apparent at weddings of all kinds.
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “I love photographing the moment before the bride or groom walks down the aisle and watching their partner look at them with such admiration.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “I love my Canon R5; I love the way it captures skin tones and how light weight it is.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “Please keep the iPads away from the ceremony aisle. While we know you'd love to capture it, please keep it to cell phones if you must.”
Lindsey Shorter uses her art background and culinary skills to inform her approach to weddings. After graduating college with a fine art degree, the Charleston-based photographer found herself inspired when a bride’s sister asked her to help document a sunny family outdoor cookout. Since then, she’s been hooked on weddings, taking a detailed and elegant approach to her work.
“I like to photograph the wedding day as it unfolds with minimal intervention, but gentle cues,” says Shorter. She brings a “steady and relaxed” mindset to the wedding day, lending a calming presence to the festivities—which in turn helps her clients enjoy the day. With an instinctive and feeling-based style, her work reflects all the little perfect moments others might miss for years to come.
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “Right now it is the cake cutting! I think it is a really fun tradition to capture and it is a time when after entertaining guests all night, the couple gets to have another little moment together. I love the shots that come from this time in the night.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “Currently it is a Contax G2! It is so convenient to keep on you and the best point and shoot I have ever used. The quality of light and color that comes from this camera is so special. I also especially love shooting with this on the dance floor! Some of my favorite images I have made came from this camera.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “The photographer should be the person you feel most comfortable around on your wedding day—you will be with them all day long. You're hiring them for their experience and their eye so let them go for it! The more at ease and trusted they are, the better your photos will be."
“Timeless” and “classic” are the two words that best describe Liz Banfield’s approach to weddings. The photographer—who’s been in the business for 22 years—knows the value of authenticity. Her work captures true moments of emotion and allows couples to be themselves.
Banfield, who shoots in both film and digital formats, uses a variety of mediums to capture the full story of a wedding day, depending on the mood, lighting, and personal style of her clients. That fresh perspective lends an effortless quality to her images. As Banfield puts it, “my creativity thrives with the fast paced, beautiful, and emotional wedding day.”
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “I love it all but especially during and immediately after the bride and groom walk down the aisle. Pure magic!”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “I love shooting my Contax 645, a medium format film camera. The atmosphere and richness rendered by a larger film negative is truly something that cannot be achieved any other way.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “I wish that guests had more of an awareness of how they can be in the background of photos. This comes into play during key moments, such as when the bride and groom are walking down the aisle after the ceremony. I can count on having several guests with their phones leaning into the aisle to capture the shot. These over eager guests can spoil the professional images.”
Logan Cole, who’s shot everything from editorial to music tour photography, uses his broad knowledge base to inform each wedding he shoots. From technical know-how to building a relationship with his clients, Cole’s versatility shines through in his work. In his approach to clients’ big day, he allows the full event to unfold naturally, capturing all the special moments as they happen organically. “For me every moment of a wedding day is important and I really try to put all my energy into the whole day from morning to late night!”
His work features elements of documentary coverage with a fine art and fashion twist. The end result is a collection of stunning images that tell the story of a couple’s shared experience. Additionally, each individual photo can stand alone as a striking moment and piece to celebrate the day for years to come.
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “Honestly, the end of the night when the couple finally lets loose and dances the night away is my favorite moment to capture! I get pure joy out of photographing people having the time of their lives! Plus, I love to play around with flashes & lighting after dark.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “I shoot all my images on the Canon 5D mark IV. I’ve been a canon boy since day one. It’s never failed me.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “Don’t rush your photographer on editing/delivery of your gallery. These images will live in your home the rest of your life and be shown to your family and friends for years to come. Editing is an artistic process and giving your photographer the time they need to do the job right is important. You don’t want rushed and tired edits!”
Lucy Cuneo takes a “family friend” approach to wedding photography, treating every client like someone she’s known for years. This gives her work a personal feel, captured from the perspective of an insider who knows the couple intimately.
The photographer, who's been capturing weddings for 10 years, makes sure personal style and favorite memories always shine through. “I like to say that our images are ‘dreamy,’” Cuneo explains. “They should quite literally reflect your memories vs a literal interpretation of what happened.”
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “I love the romance of dinner time: the candlelight, the conversations, the utter relaxation and joy that fills the room.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “I am a Cannon girl! I have just upgraded to mirrorless and I love it. I always have my Leica in hand, too.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “The couple sets the tone for the wedding day: the love, the atmosphere, it's all about relaxing, smiling and being present!”
“What works for one couple may not necessarily work for another—and that’s completely okay,” says Lynn Dunston. That universal truth informs much of the California-based photographer’s approach to weddings. Dunston adapts her process and style to whatever her clients’ need, whether that’s an editorial style or a more candid perspective. In fact, her favorite way to work mixes the best of both worlds:an unplanned moment framed by more curated composition.
Her photo style—which she describes as “warm” and “romantic”—reflects her clients individuality and celebrates creativity. She often uses her background as a portrait photographer to create one-of-a-kind shots of the couple that last a lifetime.
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “There are so many moments but my favorite is couples portraits. I'm capturing most of the day as it naturally unfolds, but with portraits I can get a bit more intimate and creative with my couples.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “I have several different camera bodies. Often times the lighting, pace, and mood of the moment will determine which camera I reach for but my go-to camera for film is the Contax 645, and for digital I tend to reach for my GFX 100s. I also love pairing vintage lenses with my digital cameras.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography:“Photography doesn't have to be 'picture perfect.' There can be so much beauty and emotion in the imperfect and unconventional moments."
Since 2014, San Diego-based Matoli Keely has been living out her dream as a wedding photographer who gets to document love stories. “No two weddings are the same,” she begins. “Therefore, it’s incredibly rewarding time after time to share in and capture each beautiful and unique connection.” When taking photos, Keely lets her couples guide the shoot to ensure each image tells a genuine and heartfelt narrative, so she only steps in and offers guidance when necessary. “I love capturing natural and organic moments as they unfold during the wedding day while also bringing my creative editorial eye, composition, and understanding of light play,” the photographer illustrates. As a result, she creates “photojournalistic images with an editorial edge.”
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “Every single moment of the ceremony: the bride walking down the aisle, the groom seeing the bride, the vow exchange, the first kiss, the declaration of marriage, and the couple walking back down the aisle together. It’s the moment everyone has gathered to celebrate, and it’s my absolute favorite.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “My medium format film camera, Pentax 645NII, is my absolutely favorite camera for wedding days. There is just something about the slowed down process of composing, anticipating, and manually focusing to capture that perfect moment. I use multiple lenses with the camera, which allows me to use it throughout the wedding day.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “Communicating with and including your photographer early on in the wedding planning process is crucial to ensure your vision and desires are captured. Photography should be one of the first planning components of the wedding. Also, trusting your photographer on what would look best for photographs is key. A great timeline makes all the difference for your day.”
Before Matt Lien became a wedding photographer, he worked at an advertising agency in art and design. Because wedding photography was never part of the plan, Lien was able to use his unconventional background to define a unique approach. “I never put myself in the ‘wedding photographer’ box,” Lien explains. “I wanted to photograph weddings my way, and that really helped me develop my style early on and create a great business from the start.” After 12 years of working in this field, the Minneapolis-based photographer has crafted a laid-back approach with a focus on his clients’ needs, which leads to photos that fuse fine art with an editorial flair. Lien is grateful he fell into this line of work because he’s able to cover a variety of subjects. “It combines so many different types of photography into one day: Fashion, product, story, location,” he says.
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “Any type of authentic candid moment. True, raw documentation always wins in my book. I love creating and making artful portraits, but documenting a unique moment in time has a certain intrinsic value that is unmatched and really gives meaning to why I do this.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “The only camera I use is a Canon 5D MK4, and I just use one of them. My camera setup is pretty simple and understated, and that’s intentional. I've always wanted to blend in at a wedding and make it seem like I’m just another guest or part of the family.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “Just how much goes into what we do, whether it is the years and years of developing our own personal styles as artists or all the intangible skills to help clients navigate the wedding smoothly. Being able to meet preconceived expectations and consistently nail it every weekend, regardless of the circumstances is a challenge too. There is so much done behind the scenes to ensure the experience and the final product are stellar every time. The goal is to always make it look effortless and easy, even though that’s not always the case.”
Meg Smith is native to Napa Valley, California, where she grew up “surrounded by the celebration of food and wine and the arts.” As a child, she was enamored with photography from a young age—first falling in love with her grandparent’s wedding photos—”They were classic black-and-white photographs,” she says, “deceptively simple in their beauty, ease and intimacy.”—and, later, her mother’s film photography that she often practiced at home.
Today, she continues celebrating her childhood passions as she documents weddings local to her home in Napa Valley, as well as around the world. “I’ve always felt that photography was my destiny. It’s in my blood. Photography has been my life’s work,” she says.
Smith, a graduate of UC Berkeley, has been in the industry for 20-plus years, and her clients have included Anne Hathaway, Leanne Rimes, Jimmy Kimmel, and the late Robin Williams, among others. Most recently, she was honored to shoot the first same-sex fashion campaign for Men’s Wearhouse.
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “My work has been informed by historic street photographers (Cartier-Bresson, Lartigue, even Weegee), so I gravitate towards moments that are found (not created). If anything, I’m more interested in the moments between moments. Stillness, movement, meaning, connection, composition…I’m driven to create images that have some compelling combination of these elements.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “Just some of the cameras I love to play with include Canon, Contax, Leica, Hasselblad, Holga, Mamiya, Nikon and Polaroid.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “During the initial inquiry process, it could be likened to a dating situation between the photographer and the couple. My agent and I want to know about the couple and the vision they have for their wedding. Who we’d be working for—and with—is very important to us. There are considerations beyond date availability and cost; it should be a great match for both parties! Also, please send us a picture—we want to put a face to it—this is a very personal business.”
With nearly two decades of experience as a wedding photographer, Mel Barlow, based in Hudson Valley, New York, has mastered the art of getting her subjects to act naturally despite having a camera around. “The right encouragement gives people special permission to let their guard down and shine, which is a truly fascinating process to be a part of,” she reveals. She adopts a patient and flexible photography approach in order to achieve this authenticity. “I fold into the flow of the day and give subtle direction when the movement, location, or light is right,” she elaborates. Using her camera as a creative outlet is powerful for Barlow, especially when she documents spontaneous moments in an artistic way. And having couples appreciate her work is equally rewarding. “I love to surprise people with images that are beyond their wildest expectations,” she explains. “It’s like I’m on a secret mission capturing what is often fleeting or unseen.”
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “I love the wedding recessional. The joy is palpable, and the energy shifts from silently witnessing to actively outpouring love and cheering for the couple. You can almost see the weight that is lifted in this moment from all of the pressures of planning and the nerves to the crazy family dynamics. Nothing else matters. It’s just ‘Yes, we are married. We pulled it off. Now, let’s party!’”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with prime lenses is my camera of choice because I can lean into low-light situations and get really beautiful cinematic quality.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “I wish couples knew that just because they are ultra camera shy or their friends always take bad photos of them with their iPhones doesn’t mean that they aren't photogenic!”
Although she’s based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Melissa Marshall photographs weddings all over the world, from intimate elopements in the Swiss Alps to macro weddings in St. Barts. For “the wildly in love,” Marshall aims to authentically and creatively capture wedding moments that represent a couple’s unique love story. She’s able to reflect individual quirks and shared chemistry by making her clients feel comfortable on camera. “I think it’s easy for people to see themselves in my photos because the moments I capture are authentic and never forced or over-posed,” she notes. “I’m always reading my couples—how they touch, flirt, and connect. It’s what draws my eye and what you’ll find in my work.”
After working in the industry for nearly a decade, Marshall continues to find her job incredibly gratifying because she loves having the opportunity to shoot the most special day in people’s lives. “At the end of the day, all that matters is their love and their commitment to forever,” she observes. “It’s an insane honor and joy getting to witness and capture it for so many wonderful people.”
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “I love the moment at the end of the ceremony after the couple kisses and turns to face the crowd as newlyweds. I love the proud and excited smiles they both have on their faces as they practically skip down the aisle as a married couple.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “Lately, I’ve been shooting on the Canon EOS R5. It’s fun to shoot on because of how advanced it is, like using the touchscreen to shoot instead of the viewfinder. I love my Mark IV too though. Both cameras are exceptional in low-light scenarios, and all I really care about is the quality of the photos.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “Don’t expect or rely on too much Photoshop wizardry! Creating the right atmosphere and accepting what is helps deliver authentic moments and a true story of the day.”
After making the switch from the world of medicine to the world of weddings in 2018, Dallas-based Meme Crayton has been living out her purpose. Since starting her brand, the wedding and adventure elopement photographer has a goal to “immortalize the tenderness of my couples’ lives,” “give permanence to feelings,” and “breathe life into frames hung on the walls of their homes.” Whenever she shoots a wedding, she acts as if she’s an old friend of the couple’s, so they’re able to loosen up and be themselves on camera. “I love to get to know them, their quirks, and the things that make them smile,” Crayton expresses. “I want to tell their story honestly, authentically, and beautifully.” Instead of asking her subjects to pose, she looks for candid and emotional moments that evoke meaning. “I love to capture movement, belly laughter, and the natural flow of emotions,” she explains. Being able to capture an intense connection between two people is what fuels her work. “Deep in my heart, I believe that love is the answer to all things.”
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “I adore that moment right after the couple says ‘I do’ and when they head down the aisle together as an official married couple. The look of joy and sheer bliss in their eyes during that moment just can’t be replicated. I also love taking couples portraits after the ceremony since you’re truly able to tap into those feelings of authentic euphoria and elation.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “I know a lot of photographers have shifted over to mirrorless cameras, but I personally still love to shoot with my DSLRs. My Canon 5D MK III and Canon 5D MKIV are still my babies, and I’m a creature of habit. Ergonomically, these cameras are a great fit for my hands, and I love how well they fit on my harness. In 2022, I do plan to make the official switch to mirrorless, but for now, these are my go-to old faithfuls!”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “I wish that wedding guests knew how stressful the planning process can be for couples at times. They go through so much to make sure their day is just as special for their attendees as it is for themselves, and I want their guests to know how much it means to them to have them RSVP and show up for them in a big way.”
Moesia Davis grew up surrounded by family, so naturally, she gravitated toward this line of work in 2013 because she wanted to replicate that same sense of community. “Wedding weekends feel like home,” the New Orleans-based photographer shares. “It’s a true celebration of love in its purest form.” That’s why Davis adores reflecting a couple’s special connection through the photographs that she takes. “It’s such a remarkable experience getting to witness and capture two people who found each other in a world with so much chaos,” she explains. “I think that finding your soulmate is truly one of the greatest gifts that God allows.” With a photojournalistic approach to shooting weddings, Davis focuses on natural movement and impressive detail that her couples will cherish forever.
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “There are so many moments I love to capture. There’s something really authentic about my couples when they see themselves dressed in their wedding attire for the first time.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “I was recently gifted a Minolta 35mm, and I love it. Mostly, I shoot black-and-white film with it. It’s such a good camera for movement.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “Wedding photography is personal. Your photographer is with you throughout the day. We witness intimate moments. I wish couples wouldn’t focus so much on having the ‘perfect’ wedding day. Things happen, and it’s OK! Sometimes, it rains. Sometimes, it snows. Sometimes, the ring bearer has a tantrum in the middle of the aisle. Imperfect moments are real moments. Also, enjoy the day! Wedding days sometimes feel like a time-lapse. You don’t have to take photos with everyone at your wedding. Dance, eat, and drink. It’s your party!”
Natalie Watson started her career as a newspaper journalist 20 years ago. At that time, a few couples started asking Watson to shoot their weddings, and once she was exposed to that magical world, she never looked back. “I learn so much about love and life from each couple and family I photograph,” she divulges. “Experiencing everything so closely through the lens of a camera will never get old to me.”
Although Watson is based in Nashville, she shoots destination weddings all over the world, from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico to Asheville, North Carolina. She’s a fine art film wedding photographer, so she has a knack for capturing candid moments full of emotion and energy. Instead of fleeting trends, she prefers classic photos. “Timeless images are my specialty, and the most successful images to me look like they could have been taken at any time, in any era,” she illuminates.
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “It varies! Each wedding and couple is unique. Sometimes, it’s the reaction to speeches, and sometimes, it’s walking down the aisle. Other times, it’s an emotional moment with a loved one.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “Everything that comes out of a Contax 645 is gorgeous. It’s fast for a medium format camera, and the manual settings and analog sounds make me happy. On wedding days, I shoot with my Contax all day long and on a tripod when needed. I love gritty black-and-white 3200 speed film on 35mm. Although I mostly shoot film, digital cameras have quite a few perks. I love digital when I need to take multiple shots, and it’s of course great for delivering preview images quickly.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “Soak in the joy of every moment. The more you have a great time, the better your photos will be!”
Shannen Norman and Emily Blake first joined forces in 2017 because they shared the same aesthetic and a “desire to capture weddings in a more interesting and engaging way.” Working as a team of two allows them to cover every detail from every angle, so they accurately and authentically represent the wedding day. Their combined editorial and photojournalistic styles also make their photos stand out. “[These approaches] admittedly are opposites, but each has their time throughout a wedding day,” the duo remarks.
Our Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “Beyond the obvious of the unscripted moments that we can never plan for, the couple walking out of their ceremony is often a favorite time of the wedding day. The raw emotions of the newly married pair surrounded by all of their loved ones bring us a lot of joy.”
Our Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “We can’t really pick! We use a variety of film and digital cameras that all lend to certain parts of the day and create their own magic.”
What We Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “While we really love candid photos with the couple and all of their guests around, we also think it’s really important to set aside time for the couple to step back and be together while being photographed. We’ve found that some really special (and sometimes candid) moments can happen when it’s just the two of them.”
Almost 15 years ago, Chicago-bred Olivia Leigh started her first foray into the wedding world. Since human relationships had always piqued her interest, she yearned to document couples’ unique dynamics. Her photos truly reflect these intricacies because her calming presence and empathetic voice alleviate the stress and pressure that weddings can evoke. “If the couple feels supported and at ease, the photos will look relaxed and authentic to them,” she observes. What also sets Leigh apart is her attention to detail and ability to notice nuance. “I work extremely hard to capture the smallest of moments, continuing to shoot in-between shots even after the big events of the day are done,” she explains. “I believe it’s in these truly candid, unrehearsed moments that we can often capture the most memorable and true images.”
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “I love the moments after the first kiss as the couple walks back down the aisle and is just radiating joy as well as the minutes after that. Usually, the couple goes off either by themselves or with their family or wedding party, and these moments are full of love, kissing, and crying. It’s a moment where all the walls truly come down.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “I shoot a mix of film and digital, choosing the best camera for the environment and situation. In Chicago, we shoot a lot of indoor celebrations, so digital is often our preferred camera for great low-light capabilities and fast speed. My favorite camera to use though is probably my Canon EOS 1V, a 35mm film camera with a wide lens and black-and-white film. I love shooting large group moments on this camera and film combination as the images have such a fun, nostalgic feeling with its wide angle, film grain, and ‘fly on the wall’ feel.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “I wish clients knew how much work goes into each wedding after the day. The editing and album creation are both a huge part of the process and take countless hours, with each image receiving individual attention. I also wish couples could remember that above all else, this day is a celebration! There is so much pressure on couples to do certain things on a wedding day, and there are a lot of people offering a lot of opinions. Ultimately, the day should be fun, and perfection is a myth! My couples that are the happiest are ones that can truly let go of everything and be fully present, not worrying about the weather or their dress getting dirty, and instead really soak in the gift of being able to be with their closest friends and family on their wedding day. Ultimately, we can only capture what is available to us, and if you are joyful and relaxed on your wedding day, your images will look joyful and relaxed.”
Olivia Rae James has worked as a wedding photographer for nearly a decade. Although she's based in the Charleston area, she shoots weddings all over. James approaches each celebration with a relaxed and flexible mindset, which helps her capture raw and real emotions. “I go into each wedding day without any expectations, and I document the day as it plays out, inspired by natural light and real moments.” Her passion for this field allows her to create timeless, special, and moving keepsakes for every couple. “Getting to be a fly on the wall at such a momentous occasion and witnessing the energy and excitement and beauty and stress and everything in between is magic,” she exclaims.
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “The in-between moments when the bride's veil gets tangled in the wind, the flower girl melts down, or the couple is en route to the ‘perfect’ portrait spot, but the light is already hitting them just right, and they’re gazing at each other starry-eyed — all things that can’t be planned.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “I am super minimal with gear. Normally, when I show up with my small backpack, people ask if the rest of my stuff is in the car. I shoot with the Sony A series and a 35mm lens. I love it and am comfortable with it and feel that it captures life how I see it. It’s all you can really ask for in a camera.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “The way to get amazing wedding photos is to forget about the photos and be present in the day.”
Patricia Lyons first started her photography career snapping portraits and orchestrating editorial shoots. Then, 15 years ago, a friend convinced her to co-shoot a wedding, and Lyons fell in love with the wedding world. “I’m so grateful to her for showing me that weddings are joyful culminations of everything I love to shoot: portraits, emotions, homes, and places that mean a lot to my clients,” Lyons expresses. Although she’s based in Richmond, Virginia, Lyons primarily covers destination weddings. Her photos stand out from the crowd because she edits her images to look like film and because she is “constantly assessing the light and background to know what will make the best photographs.”
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “Just before and just after the ceremony. The emotions run the gamut and are so fun to capture.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “The Canon mirrorless cameras are incredible pieces of technology and allow me to move quickly and efficiently, so I don't miss a moment, but I feel like the lenses make more of a difference than the bodies, and the photographer makes all of the difference.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “A lot of photographers can take beautiful images, but find one whose guidance and expertise you can trust. I love when an idea or suggestion, whether about timing, light, or locations, begets the couple's favorite images of the day, and this happens quite frequently.”
As a former professional historian, Perry Vaile applies her background in history to her wedding photography approach. “I have come to see that photographing each wedding is my own mark on history,” Vaile reveals. After over a decade in the industry, she has developed a talent for identifying unexpected moments, which allows her to create imagery that blends “rich, artistic depth and wide, meaningful perspective.” Vaile is based out of Charleston, South Carolina and Raleigh, North Carolina, but she also travels all over to shoot weddings.
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “One with layers (often multiple-generations). It's more than just a walk down the aisle, a first look, or a first dance between a new couple. It’s the complexity of the other people being witnesses as well — a father beaming with the bride, a flower girl peeking from behind her mother, a grandmother wiping a tear away in the background. Life is layered, and I love capturing moments that are as well.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “Medium format, whether film or digital, gives that extra oomph of depth that helps me create the cinematic vibe I love. It brings out the artist in me.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “That personality matters. We all know the importance of image quality and style, but few put as much consideration into the human behind the camera that will be interacting with and encouraging them on one of the most memorable days of their lives. You should adore the person as much as their work because you will likely spend as much time with them on your wedding day as with your new spouse!”
Ever since 2015, Peyton Byford has been shooting weddings—and often with her videographer husband Colton by her side. “I absolutely love the feeling of being able to capture memories for couples that will likely be some of their most cherished ones,” the photographer says of her career. Byford snaps timeless photos with a photojournalistic and editorial approach, and she edits her work to produce “the perfect blend between dark and moody and light and airy.” In addition to her unique shooting and editing approach, Byford believes that the way in which she frames her couples and plays with light is what makes her work noteworthy. She currently calls Boise, Idaho home, but she travels to every wedding she shoots.
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “The bride and groom immediately after the ceremony! The couple is always so elated and also relaxed and just so happy because they are finally married! Plus, those moments are always the sweetest because it's a moment my couples get to spend together, just them two, soaking it all in.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “I can't choose a favorite because I feel like all three of my cameras are my favorite to use for different parts of the day! My D850, D750, and Z6II all capture light in so many different ways that I'm drawn to depending on the light I'm working with at the moment!”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “The time it takes to back up photos, cull sneaks, cull the gallery, edit, and deliver the images. Same with video! It truly takes so much creative energy and time, but the wait is always worth it!”
Joshua and Kariss Farris are a husband-and-wife team based in Dallas who have been shooting weddings for nearly a decade. Since Joshua was the first man in his family to attend college, he grabbed a camera to document the milestone. That moment sparked his passion for photography, which quickly became his business. Once Joshua proposed to Kariss, he taught her everything he knew about photography, and soon enough, Pharris Photos was born. The husband-and-wife duo approach every wedding as storytellers. “Like Josh preserved the experience of college, we aim to artfully and thoughtfully capture the legacy that begins on the wedding day,” the couple share. They aim to create narratives that transcend time and trends while accurately illustrating the couple’s relationship. “Our goal for every wedding is to leave behind images that generations after us will remember their loved ones by and the example that they set,” they add.
Our Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “Kariss’s favorite moment is the couple portraits! After the wedding, when the feeling is fresh, allowing the couple to have a moment to themselves, hold each other close, and stare deeply into each other’s eyes fills me with all the feels! I know that this is the moment they will cherish and it's a delight to capture! Josh's favorite moment to capture at a wedding is the ceremony! I've said it once, and I'll say it again: We love legacy. This is the moment two become one, and he delights in capturing it from different angles and levels and showing the guests’ emotion!”
Our Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “We shoot on Nikon D850s and Nikon Z6s!”
What We Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “We wish more couples understood the importance of timeless imagery and a business that has proved itself over time. Because we believe in legacy and fantastic lighting, we approach weddings with the respect couples deserve. Both in business practices and in our shooting and editing! We want every bride to experience photographers who take their jobs seriously, and it's so sad for us when we hear from clients about their ‘not so great’ wedding experiences.”
Los Angeles-based Zyaire Porter has been preserving special memories through the wedding photos that he takes since 2013. The photographer understands how valuable wedding photos are for families. “We approach weddings as if we are capturing the family foundation for generations to come,” he explains. “These images will be seen by great grandkids, so we like to capture photos with that in mind.” Porter prides himself on having an observant eye that is skilled at detecting nuance. “What makes me stand out with my images is my ability to capture important moments that others would probably miss,” he reflects.
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “It would have to be the intimate portraits between the bride and groom. There’s something special about capturing a couple for the first time after being married.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “Nikon Z6 (at least until my Z9 arrives). Mirrorless cameras really changed the game for me as I tend to shoot less images but get better quality images as a trade off. The colors that Nikon produces are still unmatched after all these years.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “I wish they knew how cell phones ruin images during the ceremony. I wish guests would be more present.”
Ever since Rebecca Yale was 12 years old, she knew she wanted to be a photographer. Her interest in the profession led her to study photojournalism, fashion photography, and aesthetic philosophy at New York University. She soon found that her passion lies in wedding photography, and she’s been covering the celebratory events in Los Angeles for a decade. Her goal is to give couples the ability to relive their wedding day every time they look back at the photos. “My intention is to create images that feel deeply personal to my clients, allowing their wedding memories to flood back to them,” Yale remarks. She captures real moments in a flattering light, leading to a blend of raw and refined photos. “Portraits created with subtle guidance, imbuing you with confidence, making you feel like the best version of yourself while mindfully keeping you present in the moment,” she recaps.
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “I love the recessional, right after the couple says ‘I do.’ I love the joy and happiness on their faces as they take their first steps together as a married couple.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “I love shooting with my Contax 645, but the camera doesn't make the photos, the photographer does! The best camera to shoot on is the one in your hand!”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “There’s so much more to wedding photography than they see on Instagram! It's so easy to get lost in the pretty tones of images and not really analyze the pose or the connection between the couple in the images since you don't know that couple. But when it's you in the image, you'll notice if you don't look in love with your spouse or if you look awkward and uncomfortable, but by then it's too late! Ask to see a full gallery from your potential wedding photographer, and make sure you like all their photos, not just images from styled shoots in ideal conditions with models.”
What started as an interest for Kareem Virgo has turned into a full-blown passion and his life purpose. The Miami-based photographer has been shooting weddings since 2015, and he can’t imagine any other profession. “Every time I step behind the lens, I get to do what I love, which makes me incredibly grateful,” Virgo shares. As an added bonus, Virgo works with his wife, and they both bring their own creative vision to the table in order to build their booming business. What guides them is a mission to capture photos that allow couples to relive the most special day of their lives, which is why Reem Photography stands for “Reliving Each and Every Moment.” Virgo yearns to create a work of art with every photo that he takes. “Art has the ability to attract and hold interest,” he explains. “I want my clients and audience to be mesmerized by my images.”
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “As of late, my favorite moment to capture at a wedding is an intimate first look. It's almost as if time stands still, and I am able to witness this beautiful, special ‘private’ moment while documenting the reactions and emotions that follow.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “Canon EOS R5 is my favorite camera to shoot with for weddings. The amazing sharpness and clarity along with the autofocus is unmatched. Weddings are typically fast-paced, so it's important to capture moments sharply.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “I want my couples to take ownership of their day. Enjoy all of the love and support and really bask in that for the time being. It's one of the rare days they'll get a pass to be as selfish as they want to be, and I encourage it.”
With her easygoing presence, Houston-based Rhea Whitney produces modern yet classic wedding photos that embody her couples’ personalities. “I love to have a lot of fun with my clients to allow them to relax,” she explains. “I give a lot of direction behind the camera, so the shoot can be as natural and mindless as possible for them.” For every photo that Rhea Whitney takes, she adds her own personal flair, which she calls “a woman’s touch,” to bring the shoot altogether. “I take my inspiration from nature, flowers, complementary colors, and beautiful things, and I add my chic and modern touch to each shoot,” she expresses.
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “Bride and groom portraits for sure!”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “Nikon! I shoot with a D850 and D780.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “Wedding photography is an investment that becomes even more priceless as time goes on. You want to make sure you really vibe with your wedding photographer and love their work! Because if so, you will love your gallery so much! We truly help to aid in making your day amazing!”
Ryan Ray has a knack for detecting and capturing emotion, primarily joy, while shooting weddings. “It is rooted deep in people and doesn’t always look like over-the-top happiness, but it’s felt when seen,” Ray describes. The Dallas-based photographer combines these candid moments with posed portraits to generate “natural and timeless images with an editorial feel that can be relived and enjoyed for years to come.” Ray has been working in the industry for almost a decade and a half, so he has mastered the art of making his couples feel at ease, lending to genuine photos. “I bring encouragement and positivity to help settle the butterflies, direction when needed, subtlety when a moment unexpectedly unfolds, and a good time when the music starts,” he concludes.
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “I love the moment right before the bride walks down the aisle. There are so many different emotions in that moment for the bride and her anticipation of walking down the aisle while watching dad beam with pride and also shed a tear as he anticipates giving his daughter away. It's also a moment that no one else is a part of that I feel so privileged to witness."
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “After shooting primarily film for 10 years, I returned to digital because of the advancements that digital cameras can now do and how many more moments I'm able to capture with the same quality and color. Since my move back, I have been incredibly inspired and feel like my cameras and equipment have gotten out of the way, so I'm able to capture so much more.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “Wedding photography is so much more than technicalities or what you might see on the outside. It's holding someone else's most precious life moments with reverence as you capture the very images that will be passed on for generations.”
Since 2016, Sacia Matthews has been documenting weddings, capturing each moment as it unfolds while adding an editorial edge. Her hope is that every photo she takes grasps the intense emotion felt in that moment, instantly transporting her couples back to their wedding day. “My aim is always for a client to experience all five senses when viewing their photos and to truly be taken on an experience unique to them with an artful and carefully considered approach,” the Charleston-based photographer says. She draws on inspiration from fashion, architecture, literature, design, and each couple’s unique love story to shoot quality content that speaks to the couple and their special day.
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: ““The reception as a whole is my favorite moment to capture at a wedding because that's when you get to see the soul of who people are. They're excited because the formalities are done. They've got a drink in their hand. The band is rocking. It’s where you'll find genuine moments from your clients.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “My favorite camera to shoot on a wedding day is a Fujifilm X100V. My favorite images from the day always come from this camera because it's quick, light, and so easy to document simple moments freely happening without being intrusive or even perfect from a technical standpoint.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “You don't have to subscribe to any rules. Your day does not have to be chained to a timeline and anything else that doesn't feel good and authentic to you. It's your wedding, so really do things your way, not the way it's ‘supposed’ to be done. You will always be able to find a creative team ready to support you on this!”
Sally Pinera prides herself on capturing the moment in real time while adding her own personal touch. The result? “Expressive, elegantly raw, and polished” photos that grasp subtleties. “I bring an artistic perspective that unionizes candid documentary style with an effortless editorial lens,” she says of her approach. Pinera shoots film and digital, and her method of choice varies based on the couple and their wedding aesthetic. Although she’s based in Los Angeles, Pinera shoots destination weddings, from New York City to Bozeman, Montana and everything in between.
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “There are too many to name, but I always found the moments during a recessional to be so endearing. The couples kiss and walk deeply in love with immense gratitude and pure joy for not only themselves but for all who have come to share and witness their love. The walk of new beginnings is one of my favorite moments to capture.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “My favorite camera to shoot on is the Fujifilm GFX because it combines timeless film with modern technology that provides elegant yet highly detailed wedding images that my clients love.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “Your biggest investment is not in the photographer's gear or their familiarity with other vendors or venues. It’s their eye and sensibility of style. It is what truly separates one photographer from another.”
For Samantha Clarke, whenever she approaches a wedding shoot, she encourages her clients to live in the moment. That way, the photos she takes will better reflect her couples’ authentic thoughts and feelings, leading to a more accurate portrayal of the day. “My team and I do our best to capture as much of that raw emotion and energy from the day as possible, so couples can relive their day over and over again,” Clarke details. The Atlanta-based photographer, who has been shooting weddings since 2009, loves documenting her couples when they’re together because those moments lead to moving photos that demonstrate a strong and discernible connection. “My photography style is about capturing the essence of the couple as a unit, mostly in the unscripted moments when they’re full of emotion, romance, and style,” she uncovers.
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “I love the anticipation and excitement during the getting ready portion, and I also love to see the newlyweds excitedly walk back down the aisle.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “I love using the Canon R6! It's a great mirrorless camera that captures the quick moments that happen on a wedding day.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “I want couples to know that the photos of the two of you and your families should really be a priority on your special day. Future generations will love to see them!.”
With a background in journalism, Samm Blake’s wedding photographs have a unique editorial lens married with an artistic flair. Her style leads to photos that accurately portray the couple, their feelings, and the wedding day as a whole. “My images are building blocks of an unfolding story,” she describes. “They’re little moments that capture the honesty and pure emotion of a wedding day, focusing on subtlety over fanfare.” For almost 20 years, New York-based Blake has been documenting these celebratory events to give her clients something to reflect back on for years to come. “Ultimately, it's all about being able to create work that transports someone back to a nostalgic memory or feeling.”
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “My favorite moment at a wedding is when the couple is walking back down the aisle and being congratulated by all their loved ones. The excitement, the joy, and the energy in those moments will always be my favorite.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “My Fujifilm GFX 100S. It's a medium format digital camera, but it feels like a film camera when shooting, and it produces a very similar look to film, while having the benefit of being digital. It's the best of both worlds.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “It can be hard to be vulnerable in front of a camera, but the best photographs always have a vulnerable element to them. Put 100 percent trust into your photographer. Try your best to let down your guard (and encourage your loved ones also), and your photographer will be able to create such a stunning collection of photographs for you.”
Photographer Sarah Falugo combines “an editorial and fresh perspective” to document couples’ special days. She uses her camera to create timeless, authentic, and emotionally-driven photos that her couples will cherish forever. Although the photographer lives in Portland, she shoots weddings all over the world and has been since 2009.
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “Epic portraits infused with beauty and authenticity.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “Canon R5 with prime lenses. The way you can shoot in low light is unsurpassed.
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “Some of the best images are captured when you stop caring so much about the results and just have a good time."
Sasithon (Sas) Pooviriyakul channels the energy of documentary and street photography into her work at weddings. The photographer started her career in advertising during which wedding photography became a much-needed creative outlet. Since then, she’s shifted her focus completely, capturing weddings in a way “that foregoes pomp and circumstance in favor of intimate, unexpected moments of joy and charm.”
Pooviriyakul’s visual style centers spontaneity and whimsy, capturing all types of images from couples portrait to decor details. Her goal is always to create unique and thoughtful images that will be with her clients for a lifetime. “It’s a chance to create something that will be cherished for generations, by the couple and their families alike.”
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “Spontaneous moments that only the universe could orchestrate.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On:“For every wedding, I bring a variety of cameras: Canon R5, Hasselblad 500c/m, and Leica M6. I love each for different reasons, as every camera has its own personality and character. But if I had to choose one as my all time favorite, it would be my Hasselblad film camera which was a gift from my father over 20 years ago. I used it all throughout college for my photography classes and funny enough, I’ve photographed many of the same people with it since then. I love taking it to weddings because it’s a personal piece of me, almost like a family heirloom, that I get to share with my couples.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “There’s more to the job than just photographing the wedding day. There’s pre-production (location scouting, calls, reviewing timelines, group photo lists, etc.); the actual shoot day; and multiple days of post-production (editing). Each is an integral part of the job so that I can make my best images.”
Stanley Babb of Stanlo Photography creates one-of-a-kind photos that mirror his client’s style and taste. With an aesthetic described as clean, modern, and artistic, the Miami-based photographer also never forgets to find the fun at every wedding. The Stanlo team captures the eternal joy and spontaneity of weddings through fresh eyes—and never misses a beat.
No one can define a wedding, but Babb and his team aim to document every special moment for couples. “It’s a tale of families and friendships, a reminder of times passed, and a stepping stone for the future,” Babb explains.
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “My favorite moment to capture would definitely be the portraits. This allow us to really showcase the couple's love and create some of the most epic images.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “My favorite camera is the Canon EOS r5. It the perfect wedding cameras. Its sophisticated features allow you to focus more on the story and less on the gear. This camera also captures some of the most high resolution images allowing for amazing wall art.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “I wish all couples new the importance of being on-time. This is very important when executing the clients vision on the wedding day.”
The Stetten Wilson duo are a true creative marriage, mixing technical know-how and design chops. “Our work marries Devin’s knowledge of technology, awareness of moments, and eye for light with Skylar’s background in event production, keen eye for styling and design, and appreciation of architecture and classical portraiture,” says the duo.
In terms of style, the photography pair describe their approach to weddings as “art meets love.” With their portfolio of stunning shots that showcase equal parts design details and candid moments, it’s clear they live this mantra.
Our Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “All of the unexpected, unplanned ones. And next to that would be the moments after the first kiss when the couple is announced for the first time. So much energy and excitement wrapped up into one moment of grand expression. It's an outpouring of love that never gets old.”
Devin's Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “It changes with every moment. But I’m enchanted by medium format cameras' ability to give a special depth to an image whether it's the Contax, the GFX, or a Rollei. There's always room for another camera in my bag.”
Skylar's Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “Contax 645 with the 80mm Zeiss lens. This medium format film camera has a beautiful, milky transition from what’s in focus to what’s out of focus that no other lens can quite replicate. It’s old and clunky, and only shoots 16 images per roll but always worth every single one. "
What We Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “As a client, you deserve to have a top notch experience at your wedding and spectacular images in your final gallery. Work with your planner and photographer to create a timeline that allows for that. Also, get clear on what your priorities are for wedding day photography so that you’re not spending too much time taking extended family photos instead of enjoying your cocktail hour. You can take extended family photos before the rehearsal dinner!”
Almost two decades ago, Steve Steinhardt first picked up a camera with the intent of learning how to capture his own family. Since then, the Cleveland-based photographer has become one of the best in the wedding business, capturing plenty of family moments for couples across the country.
Driven by the legacy wedding photos represent (he cites John and Jackie Kennedy as the ultimate wedding inspiration), Steinhardt’s approach to weddings has always been to “capture moments with a classic, ageless eye and to give the viewer a true sense of what it was like to experience the magic first hand.”
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “As a new father myself, I find capturing emotional moments between children and their fathers especially heartwarming. I look forward to this every time now.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “Sony digital cameras have my heart. The small form factor and excellent low light capabilities allow me to be at-the-ready to capture the most fleeting moments no matter the lighting scenarios that present themselves that day.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “Resist the urge to pose or direct children for your photographer unless they ask you for assistance. The most beautiful, heartwarming, child-like moments unfold when you let kids do whatever they want to do.”
For more than 15 years, Sylvie Gil has captured emotion from behind the lens. Her artistic flair and background in fashion make her one of the most sought after photographers in the world. Working exclusively with film, Gil’s signature style is dreamy, soft-grained, and candid. From outdoor ceremonies to destination settings (her personal favorite), Gil captures the joy, celebration, and vision of her clients’ on their wedding day.
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “I love to capture emotions.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “Contax 645.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography:“Stay natural.”
Tec Petaja, who got his start in the business over 15 years ago, focuses on timeless style and visual continuity. A consummate professional, his clients cite his calming presence, which itself to the fast pace and long schedule that comes along with photographing weddings.
Longevity is the driving force behind the Nashville-based photographer’s work, as his aim is to create instant classics. “My work is consistently classic and something I hope my clients will love from the moment they see it to when they're celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary and beyond.”
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “I always enjoy sneaking away with just the couple; those few minutes together—before they walk down the aisle or right afterward—are so sacred.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “At the moment, my favorite camera is the Sony A1. Initially, I invested in it for its low light capabilities, but I quickly realized it was the fastest camera I've ever shot. It allows me to capture every moment of the day without missing a beat.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “I think it's imperative that a couple chooses a wedding photographer that marries the ability to keep cool under pressure, while simultaneously staying sharp. Wedding days are full of emotion, and having a professional there that navigates the day with ease and calm is essential.”
Based in Fredericksburg, Virginia, Terri Baskin has been capturing weddings since 2012. “I work in weddings because love is beautiful and a personal choice. Each wedding allows me to see a couple's love personified while documenting the official start of their family legacy.”
As a digital photographer, Terri’s photography style is “to create images that allows anyone not in attendance at the wedding feel like they were there.” Using her outgoing personality to her advantage, Terri aims to capture real emotion and connection between her couples.
“My approach to weddings begins with a reminder that each client that hires me is excited about this moment in their lives,” she says. “Because of this, I share in their excitement and look for ways to create images that are special and unique to them as a couple while remaining consistent with my storytelling style of creating timeless, fun and romantic images.”
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “I love when my couples see each other for the very first time on their wedding day. Whether it's at the first look or when they are seeing each other for the first time on the aisle, that sigh of relief and that moment of anticipation always feels special and genuine.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “I use a Nikon D780. I love the technology on the camera that allows me to work quickly, when needed, while creating quality images.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “In this age of technology, many people watch the wedding from their phone screen versus truly being in the moment. While I don't see that changing for the foreseeable future, I would love [it] if wedding guests didn't obstruct the views with their phones out of respect for the couple during the ceremony. For this reason, I encourage my couples to consider an unplugged ceremony to minimize the distractions.”
Tessa Tadlock entered the industry six years ago and is based in Pismo Beach, California. Full of “happy energy and sarcasm,” Tessa’s photography style is a unique combination of “capturing moments as they unfold as well as being super hands on with directing portraits with movement based poses so no one ever feels awkward! Mixing romance with gorgeous outdoor locations and true to life vibrant rich colors with a touch of golden warmth is my thing!”
For Tessa, working in weddings is like living “inside a romance movie! I’m obsessed with love and getting to know people's different love stories.”
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “Sunset portraits!! I love helping to facilitate magical moments by posing my couples in a way that gets them moving and laughing together!! And doing it with the prettiest light of the day is just the best!”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “Nikon D750! I’ve never been a huge gear person, any high performance camera would be great in my opinion—it really is the person behind the camera as cheesy as that is.”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “Not everyone is going to value my art the same, and that’s totally fine! I’m not for everyone, I’m actually only for a super small amount of people!.”
Trent Cobb and Dara Kent-Cobb are the husband and wife team behind New York-based Trent Bailey Studio. They’ve been in the business since 2009 and originally hail from southern Louisiana. “We founded Trent Bailey Studio over 12 years ago with an honest approach to documenting weddings with an artistic aesthetic,” share the Cobbs. “Our work is a balanced combination of relaxed portraits and sincere moments. We strive to capture photographs that are captivating and joyful. We believe in creating images and short films that feel classic and timeless, that will instantly transport you back to the way you felt on your wedding day.”
Together, the photographers shoot on medium format film, 35mm film, and digital, and their images can be described as timeless, yet contemporary. As for why they love wedding photography? “We love telling stories. It’s truly an honor to document such an important day in two lives. To capture meaningful and memorable moments that the couple might one day show their grandchildren is really why we do this.”
Our Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “We can’t pick just one. We strive to capture how the day felt more than anything. Whether it is that joyful moment just after the couple has recessed down the aisle or the celebratory group of friends huddled on the dance floor, the entire day is our favorite.”
Our Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “Trent fell in love with a Rolleiflex 2.8 F over 10 years ago, and always shoots it on weddings and for travel work. It shoots square images and the film is wound by hand so there is no need to bring batteries. He loves how it makes moments feel and also makes every shot intentional. Dara comes from a fashion background and has shot the Contax G2 for years. She loves the look 35mm film gives and shoots exclusively on this camera for weddings. It’s great for capturing moments and the impromptu candid moments our clients have come to love from us.”
What We Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “Don’t stress about all the small details, leave that to your planner and/or the creative partners you’ve trusted for your day. What is most important is that couples remain present throughout the day so that their love and joy is able to come through in the photographs.”
“I love weddings because they fill my life with joy, love and celebration,” says celebrated wedding photographer Valorie Darling. “I get to be with couples and their families at peak moments in life, often becoming life-long friends, and I find fulfillment in knowing that my art is something they return to for inspiration and pass forward for generations.”
The Los Angeles-based photographer started her company in 2013. She explains her photography style, “I primarily shoot digital to keep up with the thousands of beautiful candid moments unfolding during a wedding day, and then I layer in both fine art film to capture the timeless moments and 35mm film for the playful party shots. I love the texture and dimension that the mix of formats provides. What makes my photography stand out is the relationship I develop with my couples and their families, a trust and comfort that allows for real presence, excitement and intimacy to emerge. To me, that’s what makes great photos, when true moments of experience meet the artist’s lens.
My Favorite Moment to Capture at a Wedding: “The magic hour portraits because of the sense of ease the couple embodies now that the biggest parts of the day have happened. Time slows down in the colors of the sunset and they really get to relax into the celebration and have a moment just the two of them.”
My Favorite Camera to Shoot On: “The Canon R6. It’s really fast, accurate and captures every fleeting moment. Once I switched to mirrorless I felt like I was editing in camera which is pretty amazing!”
What I Wish Everyone Knew About Wedding Photography: “For me, wedding photography is so much more than just clicking a button. We end up wearing so many different hats on the day and I am a bit of a Swiss Army knife, as my partner would say, haha. The fly on the wall photojournalist, the cheerleader, the family therapist, the art director, the choreographer, you name it I’ve done it and that’s one of the many reasons I love weddings and feel like it’s what I’m best at!”
We were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of photographer Justin Douglas this past year. He was a truly talented artist and a rising star in the wedding industry, and we were honored to feature him as a Brides Best Photographer for the first time in 2020. He is greatly missed in our industry, and he will forever hold an honorary place on our list as a Brides Best Wedding Photographer in America. RIP, Justin.