Apr
26
2015

{EVER OURS AFTER HOURS} JONAS SEAMAN…

#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

JONAS SEAMAN

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.

based in Washington, but he’s been all over.  see for yourself.  head on over to JONAS SEAMAN’S PORTFOLIO and HIS BLOG for so much more of his latest work.

 

Apr
22
2015

{ENGAGEMENT} LOVE AT CHATTANOOGA’S PRENTICE COOPER…

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

JOE & SELAH PHOTOGRAPHY

on the blog today.  more from this session can be found HERE, then mosey around THEIR BLOG for more of their latest and greatest and go further back to see what else they’ve been up to.

Apr
21
2015

{ENGAGEMENT} LOVE IN DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES’ ARTS DISTRICT…

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

SINGLER PHOTOGRAPHY

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.

Apr
20
2015

{ENGAGEMENT} LOVE AT ILLINOIS’ STARVED ROCK STATE PARK…

“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

SABRINA NOHLING

for sending this session over to share. check out more of Sabrina’s beautiful work on HER BLOG.

Apr
19
2015

{EVER OURS AFTER HOURS} KAT HARRIS…

#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

KAT HARRIS

i’m pretty sure i discovered Kat via social media friends.  we officially met last year during a summer visit to NYC.  before meeting her, it was absolutely amazing following on her journey of not just wedding photography and fashion/editorial photography, but her passion for all aspects of life.  she never “preached” but her motivation alone for her own self was enough to get your own mind running to see what else there was you could do to make YOU better.  i think all that energy from Kat just oozes through and shines through all her work.  truly been a joy to have her work on here and many thanks to her for taking the time to answer these questions!

How did you get your start in wedding photography? 

I always loved photography, but didn’t think I had a creative bone in my body.  Through working at Invisible Children after college, I lived in a house with 50 other creative people (Ben Sasso being one of them…crazy right?).  I was surrounded by creativity, and one of my bosses and heroes Jason Russell told us all that every human being is creative; it’s just figuring out what your creativity is.  And once you find it, honing in on it and using your craft for good.  Long after I worked for Invisible Children that stuck with me.  Months later when I was in between jobs I worked a contract job for an event coordinator in Dallas.  Mike Colon was the wedding photographer at that wedding. We met, and I got his card, and was inspired by our short chat during the vendor meal.  He was obviously very talented (being hired from LA), and was a humble man of faith and encouraged me to chase my dreams.  Shortly after that I moved to LA for a job at another non-profit, and in that move I made a decision to start trying things I never thought I could do.  I took dance classes, voice lessons, and was committed to start taking pictures.  I reached out to Mike, and we met at his studio.  A few months later, even though I didn’t know a thing about photography, he took a chance on me.  He hired me full time to be his assistant and office manager.   I didn’t know a thing about photography, but thought the best way to find out if I liked it and was good at it was to immerse myself into its world.  Working for Mike opened up this whole new existence to me.  He taught me everything I know.  From editing to running a business, to shooting manual, to posing, to taking chances.  He brought me to all his shoots and weddings, to shoot New York Bridal Market, and I got to sit in and produce all of his workshops.  What I found over my almost 4 years of working for Mike was that I not only loved photography, but I was pretty good at it.  If you would have told me 6 years ago that I would be living in New York City running my own wedding and lifestyle photography business and fashion blog I would have laughed in your face.  I’m so grateful Mike took a chance on me.  Without it sounding terribly cheesy; it changed my life.

What is unique about your style of shooting? 

Photography has been a constant journey of self discovery for me.  I think the most unique thing any of us have to offer in our craft is ourselves.  No one sees the world quite like I see it, and same with anyone else.  I think the more I can get to know myself, my creativity, and what brings me life, the more unique I become as an artist.   What I do with my wedding photography is create a mixture of those timeless classic portraits alongside those in-between moments.  The laughter, the stolen kiss, bridesmaids whispering secrets.  I’m always looking for the moment that’s not the big moment.  To me it’s the tiny almost unnoticed moments of the wedding day that I love the most.

Include one of your images that is your most recent favorite and explain why you love it?

(I’m the worst at narrowing things down so I chose 3.  I hope that’s ok).  If you’re anything like me when I’m done shooting 97% of the time I feel like I could’ve done better.  Or wish I would’ve stayed with my shots just a little longer to get that perfect shot, and completely dread editing my images.  There have only been a few times in my career where on the shoot I have felt ‘oh this is it’.  This is the shot.  Like you know in your gut when you took the photo; it was just what you wanted.  I did a test shoot last fall with an amazing team of ladies; it was freezing cold outside and we had about an hour to shoot before it was dark.  I shot the below series, and love them.  There’s a quiet beauty to these images that I really love, and to me it represents my style so well.  It’s real life, but it has that edge of lifestyle/editorial.  They feel connected, light, and intimate, and that’s what I love.

What do you struggle with the most?  Business wise or shooting wise?  

A constant battle I have is to be present and not compare myself to others.  For a long time I didn’t think there was a place for me in the wedding photography or photography world in general.  Who would hire me when there are so many great photographers out there?  What did I have to offer?  I wanted to speak at WPPI, hold my own workshops, but I just felt so insecure.  Who would come?  Who would listen to me?  I felt like a fake.  I would get to a shoot, and feel good and then think oh ‘well so and so could do so much better than I am doing’, and mid-shoot I’d just shut down.   I had to finally get to a place where I gave myself permission to be on my own journey.  I’m not on so-and-so’s journey.  I’m on my own, and my voice does matter, and my images do matter.  I always want to be 10 steps ahead from where I’m at.  As soon as I lose my presence and begin comparing myself to someone else it immediately kills my creativity.  I have to consciously choose to be present reject comparison at all costs.

Where do you see wedding photography heading next?  Where would you like to see it go?  

I really think wedding photography is going back to a more classic + timeless feel.  We’ve gone through the vintage phase, the rustic phase, but timeless always comes back around.  I think men with tailored suits and tuxes and ties that fit their lapels will be more of a common theme.  I think more formal attire will be coming back to the forefront of the wedding industry.  I love it going that direction, because it’s more my style and aesthetic.  But really there’s always going to be space for the other stuff.  As long as we’re all humans, and have different upbringings and passions there’s going to be an endless wave of weddings styles and themes.  The traditions in the wedding world now are that there are no traditions.  Do what you want with your wedding day.  Make it your own.  Break the rules.

If you could send one message to the wedding photography world, what would it be? 

Be present.  Be You.  Your voice matters.  Your perspective matters.  Your creativity is altogether separate and unique.  The world needs your creativity.  Dream big.  Chase your dreams with reckless abandon; it will free those around you to do the same.  We truly are all on this journey together!

What drives you as a person and as a wedding photographer? 

My vision for my life is to empower and encourage young women to embrace their beauty, identity, value and worth.  My photography is a vehicle for that.  As a wedding photographer I get to connect deeply with my clients, and my brides specifically for sometimes up to 2 years.  What drives me is the possibility that I could encourage these brides to love themselves, to own their beauty and voice, and to share with them that they matter.

What makes you confetti throw at the end of the day? 

When I am connected to myself, to God, to my family, to my community, and to a deeper sense of purpose in my life I will throw confetti all day long to that!

if that doesn’t inspire you to start checking out KAT HARRIS, i don’t know what else will.  oh maybe the fact that on top of running her photography business, she runs an amazingly stunner of a fashion blog with Emily Scott called The Refined Woman.  check that one out as well as KAT HARRIS’ WEDDING SITE and FASHION/EDITIORIAL SITE.

Apr
16
2015

{ENGAGEMENT} LOVE IN MEREDITH, NEW HAMPSHIRE…

pretty sure you know you have an awesome wedding photographer if they have the ability to make you feel comfortable being silly and yourselves in front of the camera.  and make it look like you’re having fun too!

MIKHAIL GLABETS

definitely has that ability.  the above serves as proof.  this is probably one of my favorite engagement sessions where the couple just looks so adorably cute having their kind of fun.  and that shot on top of the roof…i can’t even…

for more from this session, head on over HERE, then check out more of Mikhails’ latest work on HIS BLOG.

Apr
14
2015

{ENGAGEMENT} LOVE AT GEORGIA’S SANDY CREEK PARK…

stoked to have

KATHRYN McCRARY

on the blog again with this lakeside engagement session.

Kathryn has a lot more up her talented sleeve so go check out what else she’s been up to on HER BLOG.