Nashville’s documentary wedding photographer
and headshot studio.
For the better part of two decades, in two different locations, I have walked through the doors of Dury’s camera shop countless times, getting supplied with gear I needed. I loved the experience of talking to knowledgeable staff and putting my hands on the cameras, lenses, and other photography equipment i’ve purchased there over the years. I’ve made friends with several of the employees, and thankfully I had the experience that unfortunately, the next generation of photographers won’t know anything about. I will miss the banter, the Fuji days, sensor cleaning days, used camera days, and even the workshops. Dury’s opened in 1882, and although in recent years, manufacturer markup and inventory has been tough on local camera shops, the Covid-19 pandemic was the final nail in the coffin for them, and other business because of having to close for over two months. I never anticipated having to say farewell to Dury’s when I started this year off, but sadly, that’s where we are now.
Local shops are important because they’re made up of local families, and of course the reasons I stated above. Also, more than once, I needed something in short order before a photoshoot or wedding, and they were there for me. It wasn’t just a local business, but a community for creative artists. In recent years, consumer habits have changed, Change is inevitable. Though, quite honestly, it irritates me to no end when people act as if they’re sad to see a local business fold, when they’ve only bought from the 800 pound gorillas. Another low form of human life are those who use the expertise of the store and then buy online to save tax. Well, now we lost our only local camera shop. This is a clubbing blow to the area photography community, though Dury’s did announce in their closing statement, that Roberts Camera in Indianapolis is a partner retailer, and I plan on supporting them. It won’t be the same as walking into Dury’s, but I’m thankful to at least have another independent camera shop to support. Although I’m sad to say farewell to Dury’s, I’m grateful for the memories and friendships I’ll always have. Protect the small business. Support your scene or watch it die.
Couples are busy shopping for venues, cakemakers, planners, studying design pallets, oh yes; and wedding photographers! It’s an extremely busy and time consuming process. It’s my interest to simplify the experience for couples consulting with me and those who secured my photography services. When couples research photographers, it can easily become overwhelming and confusing, because the styles of work and overall experience between photographers is very different, which is a good thing. Many wedding photographers use the second photographer as a point of value for their services. Are second photographers necessary? What exactly does it mean?
My neutral opinion-
It’s perfectly fine for each unique wedding photographer to work how they see fit. I’ve never worked with a second photographer personally. I take a journalist approach, and appeal most to those who want to have their story told and not have to think about it. It’s also perfectly fine that others prefer to work in teams. I would however beg to differ that the way some present it as being a necessity is accurate, regardless of who you choose. There is nothing I can tell you, and there’s nothing anyone else can tell you that should program your mind either way. The work, personality, and reputation of your ideal photographer should be the only thing that impresses you and strongly influences your decision. Anyone can talk, actions speak louder. If you like a specific photographer and their work, and feel that they show up prepared, then common sense should tell you that there’s no reason to want it done differently. Part of what you are relying on and trusting are their systems.
Clients don’t care about the contents in my camera bag, just that I show up prepared and insured. (most never question either, though venue owners should). I answer their questions and tell them anything relevant. I went to two weddings as a guest and observed these two photographers at one of the events. They seemed to be tunnel-visioned and neither one of them even noticed an adorable toddler protruding into the aisle quietly observing and eating a snack. If the couple got what they wanted, it’s a win. The other, the photographer was barely noticeable but still worked. That couple also got what they wanted. I can’t say that I saw the value of the second shooter in the first wedding, though different approaches can create a different result.
It’s only a perk if the qualifications and style are similar to the primary photographer, which is not usually the case. I’ve seen many posts on local wedding photographer social media groups looking for a second shooter at the eleventh hour because theirs bailed. That’s just heaping in a second shooter, and it’s only because it was promised, and for optics. How is this an asset to the couple? An author writes a book, and a copy editor proofs it. There’s one film producer. Are second photographers beneficial to some photographers? Yes. Are second photographers necessary for all wedding photographers? No. Just be sold on your choice for the right reasons.
Before and after the Covid-19 pandemic started, I’ve always believed in keeping things real. Many people cannot see friends and family, and miss the little things we have all taken for granted. This only solidifies my strong belief in my style of documentary wedding photography. Real human emotion and interaction can’t be replaced by staged moments or detail heavy work. I love pretty surroundings and the talent it took to create it, and even photographing it. Though the people, and nothing else tells the true story of the day.
What I do isn’t for everyone, and that’s fine with me. I’m looking for clients who value real moments documented that collectively form a story, all with a non-intrusive presence. I suspect that dealing with isolation could make this approach popular. I’m not trying to be everything to everyone, but to do what I do best. I don’t water it down either as my work would lose potency.
When hiring a creative artist, there should be a connection between them and the couple; the couple knows that their approach and systems will work for them. If a couple feels the need to micromanage the photographer, they’re hiring the wrong one. I love to accommodate my clients, though the premise of what I do should be what they want if they’re hiring me. With a niche stye like my photojournalist approach to photographing weddings, I don’t work well if placed on a leash or being micromanaged. Besides, why would anyone invest in a pro photographer and feel that they have to place that burden on themselves? It makes no sense.
Of course weddings are made up of baseline moments that I always capture. Everything else I use as free reign to watch for the richest moments, and tell a story through those. Of course I do some group photos for the couple. The reason most would hire me is if they want to enjoy their day and not have to think about it. There are plenty of photographers who work better as order takers. But in the end, if the photographer doesn’t match the couple’s vision, is anyone happy? Now is the time especially for keeping things real and hiring your best photographer match so that your day is a dream, and not a task.
This nasty Coronavirus has ravaged society and all sizes of businesses, and turned our whole world upside down. Sadly, here we are, and I hope we can continue to work together as a society and let medical experts and scientists work to eradicate this virus. As things are slowly reopening, there are certain safety precautions that all businesses and individuals must take, so I thought I’d show my commitment by sharing my Covid-19 procedures.
In-person wedding client meetings are unfortunately suspended for an indefinite time period. I hate this, because I enjoy meeting with couples and getting to know them, as wedding photography is a very personal service. I also enjoy seeing people look through my sample albums and envision their own event. Those days will return again; however, in the meantime we can always set up a phone call or other electronic meet. Email is also perfectly safe and provides written reference. When the coast clears, I’ll buy the coffee or wine, and we can resume in-person consultations as desires.
Studio headshots and on-location shoots-
I’m here and happy to serve you. Covid-19 procedures change things a bit, but we are creative enough to work through this. I have always loved chatting with headshot clients who come to the studio, and shaking their hand. For now we have to err on the side of caution and keep safe social distance. Here are a few changes and plans to get through this.
-I will wear a mask for your safety. I’ll even offer you a bottled water.
-You can enjoy a brief contactless visit. You won’t even need to touch a doorknob. I can even leave the studio doors open. Yes, I’ve been cleaning and sanitizing the best I can too. I work a safe distance from you.
-Proofing and payment is done electronically before finals are electronically delivered. Proofing is sent out on the same business day. Finals are completed usually one business day from our session and payment completion. I don’t touch or have access to your cards.
-Cash is accepted, though electronic payment is preferred.
-Outdoor or on-location work, I will still use a mask and keep a safe distance. My equipment stays sanitized as well.
-We will get through this. Thank you for supporting a small local business.
Jennifer and Hannah had their first date 6 years to the day before their wedding date. The couple met on OkCupid, and their first date consisted of grabbing a coffee and then going bowling. The wedding date in March was planned for a venue, and with more family and friends in attendance, and this was a date meaningful to them. There was no changing it. Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, prior to lockdown orders, the couple opted to have a tiny celebration in their back yard with only the closest loved ones who could travel to them. Plenty of sanitizer on hand. Enjoy this sweet intimate backyard LGBT wedding.
The wedding was on a lovely Sunday afternoon, and I received the call from Jennifer the day before. The photographer they hired backed out due to virus concerns. I felt ok with it because the couple had a system in place to keep it outside and I avoid close proximity, all was good. It was outside, sanitizer was on hand, and it was pre-lockdown. There weren’t many people which minimized the risk, and I didn’t even know I would be able to work that day. They were nice people too, so it worked out perfectly.
The cake cutting was full of emotion and humor. It was also inspiring to see that there was so much love in their house that was all personalized to them. When the dust settles, the couple plans on hosting a reception to enjoy guests that couldn’t make it. Onward to a great future and better times ahead.
I hope you enjoyed this sweet backyard LGBT wedding with Hannah and Jennifer, as much as I did. Congratulations both of you, and I hope to catch up with you when times are brighter for all of us. Thank you for letting me be your storyteller.