Nashville’s documentary wedding photographer
and headshot studio.
I operated as safely and responsibly as possible throughout most of the Covid-19 pandemic, as required by CDC and local health ordinances. Though the headshot business was relatively slow. I am happy now as we recover and life gets back to how we know it ( notice I didn’t say new normal, you’re welcome) that there is once again an uptick in headshots. Headshots in Nashville are back, and I am offering my services to help people get out of toxic jobs and into new ones; even new careers. Depending on the vibe or purpose of the headshot, I can do an outdoor / ambient vibe or in studio with professional and flattering lighting. Now once again I can give clients the option of proofing in-person or electronically. Same with payment. The process is brief. There’s no need to take up peoples’ valuable time, this is two professionals at work, not a practice run. Here are a couple recent headshots, so when would you like me to do yours?
Headshots in Nashville are back, be next. 🙂
Why hire a documentary wedding photographer?
More specifically, why hire me in particular? In short, documentary photography is about capturing the natural moments and human emotion that happens at a wedding. With exception of approximately 20 minutes of family / group photos, typically up to eight combinations (if the couple wants these at all) the entire wedding day is unposed, affording me the opportunity to do what I do best- capture the soul, energy, emotion, and love as it happens in its own perfect way. These moments are what makes your day unique to you and your loved ones. As you reminisce, browsing your photos after the day has come and gone; seeing yourselves and your guests in your natural elements is the fondest memory. Yes, I am a niche style of wedding photographer, and I know this approach, style of photography, and overall experience is not for every couple. I dare say that despite me photographing over 200 weddings, I’m not a wedding photographer at all. I’m a journalist and storyteller who photographs weddings.
This approach is exactly tailored for the couple who wants to enjoy their day, spend quality time with everyone, and not have to endure hours of standing for posed groups, fake smiles, and time away from their event. Basically hire me and forget me, and it will be done. My clients value my non-intrusive, understated presence, as I am a fly on the wall throughout the day. I understand that most couples and their families want at least the basic portrait groups which is easily doable in 20 minutes. If a couple wishes me to do many more portrait groups and have more orchestration, that defeats the purpose of hiring a documentarian, and they are better off with a more traditional wedding photographer.
To break it down into simple terms; clients pay good money for their wedding photographer. It’s only logical to hire the one with a like-minded vision. My clients receive a lovingly crafted series of photographs that makes up their story. To do so, I need creative freedom to do what I do best, most effectively. There are a host of others who pose the couple, parties, and guests throughout the day, and respond well to lists, Pinterest ideas, and the micromanaging that goes with that (The polar opposite of any true documentary photographer). I should be hired exactly for my signature style and system of working that I’ve built over the years, not something different. This is not a trend, it’s timeless and hinges on true human interaction. Why hire a documentary wedding photographer? If you think it’s for you, let’s talk.
I spoke with Nick a couple months before the Fourth Of July weekend summertime proposal photos and engagement photos he secured my services for. Nick met Darielle over two years ago through mutual friends, and their relationship has been a catharsis for both of them, as nature intended. The couple lives in New Jersey, as do their families, although at first, I had no idea I was going to meet the entire crew! One thing I love about proposal photography is the element of surprise, and seeing how creative the guy can get. Nick rose to the occasion and surprised Darielle beyond what she could have dreamt. The proposal took place in front of The Parthenon at Centennial Park. A musician was even hired play guitar as Nick proposed, and then both of their families surprised them immediately after. All unbeknownst to Darielle!
It was a rare occasion in Nashville that in early July, the humidity and heat weren’t unbearable, but the gods were in their favor indeed! Another surprise Nick planned with me, was for the couple to do engagement photos after they had a chance to visit with family and digest that amazing surprise. Indeed this was a pleasure, and I am happy Nick and Darielle, and their families enjoyed their weekend in Nashville. Thankfully post-pandemic when we can all let our masks and guards down. It was worth the wait. Wishing this fabulous New Jersey couple the deepest congratulations! I hope you’ve enjoyed these lovely Summertime proposal photos and engagement photos!
It was indeed a pleasure to get to know John and Daniel as we discussed their personal engagement photoshoot. The couple met at an out of town wedding where they both attended as guests; against their initial instincts, they decided to give a long-distance relationship a try, which proved to be a successful move. Now they have come together and live here in Nashville with their dog, Hank, as pictured in some of the photos. John and Daniel’s engagement photos tell a story about them, their love, and their decision to make their commitment eternal.
It was not only important to John and Daniel to have a photographer who supports the LGBT community, but to also be ready to document the essence of who they are as a couple. The affectionate, the silly, the reserved; all the facets of the couple and their relationship. I found it to be a very rewarding experience and was honored they chose me. John and Daniel’s engagement photos will be a lifetime memoir to the couple, which also is an honor to me. The couple is set to wed later this year in their home state of Texas. Thanks again guys, and best wishes, see you around campus soon I hope!
When couples get engaged and start planning their weddings, and start researching venues and professional providers, the process can get overwhelming, which is something most of us are sensitive to. I’m a huge advocate for thinking and researching before contacting vendors, rather than contacting a slew of random people for prices, only to have no more substantial knowledge to get started, and a slew of responses / follow-ups to contend with. It’s most productive to start with priority services, and those you won’t waiver on. Then contacting the right people for information, based on them being strong potential candidates for your specific needs and vision. Let’s talk about wedding photographers. We stated here, one can be jarringly different from another. In my case, being a niche style of photojournalist / documentary capture on wedding day, requires a specific couple. Using myself as an example, here are some random facts about hiring a documentary wedding photographer, and hopefully this helps you decide if it’s for you.
In short, documentary wedding photography is a specific approach that revolves around unposed natural storytelling and capturing the natural flow of the day. Human emotion and interaction is the main feature, which requires a lot of observing on the part of the photographer, resulting in a very non-intrusive experience if done correctly. I love to meet new prospective couples and learn about them and their vision for their day. I am also very specific when meeting with couples about my approach. Below are some key points to help you decide if this is right for you.
What types of couples seem to value documentary wedding photography most? –
Most of my couples are late twenties or older, and same-sex couples. Of course there have been younger couples who are slightly more reserved and want less pressure on themselves so they can just enjoy their day. The commonality for all my couples; they want personal memories captured and want to enjoy their day, without having to pose and take direction from a photographer all day. If you like the more genuine feel of unposed photography and natural human emotion more than the contrived feel of posed / orchestrated photos, and a more understated presence from your wedding photographer, this could be perfect for you. It’s up to both of us to make sure it’s a fit, and then it’s beautiful all around. I am very up front about how I work and how this benefits them. If it’s not for them, that’s ok too, I still gave them information to use going forward. That’s one advantage of having a specific style and approach, I’m hired for the right reasons and not by accident.
Are there any posed / group photos?-
Yes. I send out a fillable PDF with 8 combinations to ensure nobody important to them is left out, and this is done in 20 minutes or so. Parents, siblings, wedding party, etc. are typically all my couples want or need. This affords me more time to do what I do best, and free everyone else up to enjoy the festivities. Of course I want to please and serve my couples, though if a couple wants a slew of posed combinations or Pinterest ideas, that defeats the purpose of hiring a documentary wedding photographer. I don’t want the wrong couples any more than they don’t want wedding photographs they don’t like.
What about parents with different ideas if they’re helping pay?-
I’m not photographing their wedding, I’m photographing the couple’s. Conflicts of vision can make the whole experience miserable for everyone, so I sidestep the drama and do what I do best. I make sure everyone is on the same page and make it clear that I am hired because I am a master of storytelling, not a general wedding photographer.
A few final random points-
To best carry out the storytelling approach I’ve mastered, I need a lot of creative freedom. Of course I still photograph the baseline and critical moments, but the most genuine emotion often comes at random times to balance out the story. I have a solid system that works well, and a signature style, which is WHY I should be hired. My system is designed to tell an amazing story whether the event goes swimmingly or things go wrong. Some of my best wedding I’ve shot have had disasters happen and it all came together. Hiring a photographer with a specific style and wanting something different makes no sense, which is why it pays to choose wisely based on your needs and visions, which should match up if it’s the right photographer.