#everoursafterhours serves as a learn the “why” behind their work, to get to know photographers and videographers that are the game changers or ones that in their tiny little corner of the earth are just getting it done. i have always, ALWAYS, prided myself on the that community that i have the fortunate experience of knowing and featuring. for the past five years, i have surrounded myself with such a beautifully talented community of wedding photographers and videographers. so i’m just going to build on that this year and give them the spotlight they deserve. i’ll be highlighting photographers almost every week. but obviously if i have the time, i’ll be featuring more but it’s all dependent on the photographers who have the time to answer too. it’ll be up on Sundays and it’ll just be a chance for photographers to kick back after shooting a wedding, grab a coffee, and have a lazy Sunday read.
this week’s highlights
i’m pretty this blog went through a phase where weeks on end, i seemed to be only featuring Pacific Northwest talent. can you really blame me? absolutely phenomenal work always comes out from that corner from the earth. Jonas emerged as a definite favorite and I am more than fortunate to feature and showcase his work here. even luckier that he took the time to answer my questions. he’s got a lot to say and share, so let’s get to it.
How did you get your start in wedding photography?
It was completely by accident. A very happy accident. I was working as a telemarketer for several years, actually making good money, but going nowhere. I didn’t have much of a life. I felt I needed a hobby so I started my blog, Americanvirus. The thought was that it would be a creativity blog. I would force myself to be creative every day and then post my little experiments. I didn’t really have a direction for it. I was in a band at one point so I thought maybe I could post music there. I liked to draw. I thought maybe I could learn how to paint. I bought a camera to sort of track my progress because I figured, you know, a blog needs to be visual. Then with the camera, it was this whole new thing. The blog quickly became more about the photographs I was taking. I was contacted by a cultural center in Germany. They stumbled across my work and asked if they could display some of it as an art installation. After that, my work was invited to be a part of the ZOOart Contemporary Art Exhibition in Italy. In Los Angeles I was shown as part of an installation alongside work by Shepard Farey and Michel Gondry. I was still plugging away as a telemarketer in Seattle so I never got to actually see those installations, but it was a pretty thrilling time for me. I was getting a lot of validation. More people started coming to the blog. I’d get the occasional email from a couple asking if I’d be interested in capturing their wedding day. I was taking a lot of candid images, so I guess it leant itself well to wedding photography. I always said no. For some reason I really wanted to keep photography nothing more than a hobby. I kept telling myself that I didn’t want to ruin it by making it a job. Finally, I got two emails in the same day from two different couples. I was in New Zealand at the time. My sister had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and I was given time off from work to go visit her. When she heard about me turning down these opportunities, she flat out told me that I was being an idiot. She said I had a gift, that there were people out there wanting to support me doing this thing I loved, and that I was obviously just too scared to do it. I was pretty stubborn. I told her I’d think on it. The next email in my inbox that night was from the company I worked for telling me they’d gone bankrupt. I was told that as soon as I got home I was to file for unemployment. That was it. I was being kicked into a new direction. I emailed the two couples back. I told them that I’d never shot a wedding before but I’d be willing to give it a try. They ended up trusting me and let me do my thing. I had an amazing time. Something clicked. The work felt very personal to me, completely unlike what I imagined it would be. I photographed one more wedding that year, and from those three weddings I had thirty more inquiries. I just dove in.
What is unique about your style of shooting?
That’s hard for me to say. I think I may be a little too close to what I do to really be objective about it. I try to stay intuitive on a wedding day. I don’t really come in with a formula. I do set an intention with each wedding. I try to stay open to accidents and experimentation. At the same time I try to remain very grounded and present. A lot of this kind of photography is about staying in the moment and anticipating what’s going to happen- then you’re just trying to be in the right place when it does. I think there are definitely certain themes that develop in my photographs, but I’m not always as aware of them while I’m shooting. At that time I’m just on auto-pilot. I’m more aware of consciously developing thematic elements when I’m culling photos. I think a lot of the real work in defining a style comes out in the editing process, being able to discern what images best tell the story, and exactly how they should be presented.
Include one of your images that is your most recent favorite and explain why you love it?
I like this shot of the Bride’s shoes on the ironing board. I like that it’s not specifically a detail shot about the shoe, but it’s really telling a story about that moment. The iron had just been used. We know the bride is outside of frame getting ready. I like the landscape painting on the wall. The ceremony for this particular wedding was outdoors on a farm surrounded by fields and mountains. It was very picturesque and beautiful. So the painting is really foreshadowing the day ahead. I’d love to say I was thinking all of that when I made the picture, but I wasn’t. I actually had taken a number of different shots of her shoes, mostly close-ups. In the culling process most of those were discarded and this is the one I chose for those reasons.
What do you struggle with the most? Business wise or shooting wise?
Scaling the business and learning how to let go of certain aspects of it can be a struggle. My girlfriend Mary has been my business partner for the last several years which has been a godsend. She second shoots with me on every wedding. She also takes care of all our travel arrangements. More than half our shoots are outside of Washington State, and more recently outside the U.S., so not having to worry about all of that stuff has been amazing. I know on the day she’s getting me really great images, and I know wherever the wedding is, she’s taken care of the flight, hotel, and rental-car. I really don’t have to worry about any of that stuff, but there’s still so much stuff that has nothing to do with taking photographs, and it all needs to be done. I’m doing all the email communication with clients, keeping the books balanced, marketing, social media, and probably a million other things that I could learn how to hand over to someone else. It’s hard to let go.
Where do you see wedding photography heading next? Where would you like to see it go?
I think wedding photography is in an interesting place. There’s an amazing community around it that is very supportive and open. So many people right now are about elevating the work into an art form (like this blog!). I’d love to see it continue to grow in that direction.
If you could send one message to the wedding photography world, what would it be?
Shoot what you love and make it your own. It should be personal.
What drives you as a person and as a wedding photographer?
I really love to look at photographs. Along with Americanvirus, I keep another blog called Inspiration Bored where I post images by other photographers. I also post quotes from books that I’m reading. Basically, anything that inspires me that day. I recently just started pinning to Pinterest as well. I try to expose myself to a lot of great images. There’s so much inspiring work out there!
What makes you confetti throw at the end of the day?
Mary, for sure!
thank you so much, Jonas. it’s interesting to me to see how many photographers have fallen into wedding photography as a “happy accident”. i’m so glad that quite the lot of you stuck it through. because as evident in Jonas’ work, it’s so worth it. all the blood, sweat and tears that i know Jonas and quite a lot of you sacrificed, it takes answering questions like the above to make you realize how damn good you are and the journey you have taken. be proud. and Jonas, so glad to have you on here anytime always always.
there is no amount of words that will truly ever be able to describe the work
i’ve know Michael for coming up six years. he is one of the first photographers whose work i fell in love with and probably one of the main reasons why i felt a pull towards focusing this blog on only wedding photography. not only story telling at its best, but the moments. gosh, the moments that he captures end up being the most timeless images that i can only imagine his brides and grooms are so grateful for.
more from this wedding can be seen HERE.
every one of Michael’s images always leave me in awe of his art. go see for yourself on HIS BLOG.
“To say this wedding carried a personal and and love-filled vibe would be an understatement. The use of their artistic hands in the vintage boho details ranged from saris flown in from friends in Asia to hand-folded origami butterflies and the groomsmen’s personalized boutonnieres made by the groom himself. Friends and family took an active role, not just in preparation but in the festivities themselves.”
as always, super stoked to have
on the blog. his wedding work is always absolutely stunning. always capturing the essence of what the wedding day is and telling the most beautiful story with his images. also if you google Mike Olbinkski, the MOST incredible supercell images show up. this guy has versatility beyond belief. head on over to HIS BLOG for beautiful images of love and nature.
pretty sure that view is hard to beat so it’s totally a great idea to have a mini smores campfire session and have it be part of your engagement session.
huge thanks and stoked to have
if you haven’t been, you should meander around LA’s Art District. it’s filled with restaurants that leave your bellies happy, but like the name, art everywhere.
this downtown LA engagement captures just a glimpse of what that area is all about, but more importantly what the lively backdrops can provide for an already fun couple.
many thanks to
for sending this one over to share. head on over to THEIR BLOG for much more of their work that you don’t want to miss.
so i know boudoir is a touchy one. (pun intended.)
when one of your friends, dearest darlingest friends, has a vision that you 100% support. you get behind it. you start talking about it. you start living it and you start breathing it. when TWO of your dearest darlingest friends band together to further empower that movement, you just pinch yourself and count yourself so damn lucky that you are surrounded by these women who constantly push themselves to make themselves better and inspire so many others to get up each day and take steps to be their better selves.
i am super excited to help announce this.
and so very much applaud by beautifully talented friends, TONHYA WYSONG who is partnering with GOFITJO, for doing this. and i could not be more proud of their hearts to start this movement and take it on the road.
it will be much more than boudoir. i hope you know that. it’s to celebrate you.
“Starved Rock is a very special place to the couple. During their long distance dating, this was a middle ground for them to meet. They love being outdoors and so they would take long hikes and explore here. Aaron also proposed on the trail. Towards the end of the session we hiked down into the beautiful canyons! “
major thanks to