How did you get started in the wedding photography business?
I've always wanted to do photography, I graduated from college, got my cosmetology license, went to fashion school and nothing really stuck. I didn't think photography was a realistic dream of mine. It wasn't until I was 25 that I decided I was going to do it. I had just moved home (to Michigan) from Chicago, was living with my parents and extremely broke, and for my birthday, my parents helped me buy my first camera. I did a couple of really cheap shoots, made a website and blog, read as many books and blogs as I could, and that's how I got started!
How long have you been shooting weddings?
I started out shooting portraits for a year, then people started trusting me and started booking weddings a year after. My first year of weddings, I booked 18, all while working a full time job and taking on other numerous portrait shoots! I've been doing photography for 5 years, and shooting weddings for 4.
How would you describe your photography or working style?
I really love to think outside the box, I love to find unique locations, help out with wardrobe and make my clients have fun and be as comfortable as possible! A lot of people say they don't want "posed" photos, but most people are so nervous in front of the camera and don't know what to do. I try to make them look as natural as possible, for example, I will tell them to do an action, that way I get movement in the photo and it looks a lot more candid. This way they aren't necessarily posed, I give them direction so they feel a lot better, not everyone is a model! I'm also not afraid to make myself look like a fool, if I have to get people to laugh and loosen up, i'll do whatever it takes!
What's the best thing about working in the wedding industry?
The best thing about working in the industry is getting to meet so many great people. I've connected with people from my past that I might not have known as well, and out passion for creativity and photography has brought us together. I've also met so many new people who I call friends today that I would have never met if they didn't trust me with some of the most important days of their lives. I also LOVE to travel, this job has allowed me to experience new places and get creative in new environments, I think this is key to not lose your inspiration.
I think the worst thing is getting in a rut, creatively. It's hard not to look at all of these famous wedding blogs and compare my photos to theirs. Comparing is probably the worst thing you do to yourself and your work. Try not to look at what everyone else is doing, and find what make YOU stand out from the crowd. It's so hard because everyone it seems, is becoming a photographer these days. I'm not knocking it, everyone has to start somewhere, I was once in those shoes. It just makes me more motivated to be different, so they want to hire ME, because they have a ton of options. Another hard thing is getting the right client. Sure i'm happy for any work I get, but i'm really passionate about travel and outdoor boho brides, those are the weddings where I think my work really shines.
Any advice for aspiring wedding photographers?
My advice for new photographers out there is to work your butt off and not give up. No matter what you think, it doesn't come easy, especially with so many photographers out there. Everyone knows someone. When I started, I worked for hours on my new site and couldn't wait to get it out there. I was so excited to publish it, and when I did, I probably got 1 comment and a couple likes on my facebook post (most of which were friends and family). Quitting wasn't an option for me, that thought never crossed my mind. Sure it gets hard and you get down on yourself, but it is WORTH IT. I worked a full time job for 2 years while I was building my business, not to mention living at home with my parents. My friends and family never saw me because I was constantly working, but I loved it an wouldn't have changed it for anything.
What has been your favorite wedding or wedding moment to photograph?
My favorite wedding to date was a destination wedding I just photographed. With a wedding day, it's tough to get that time you want with the bride and groom. The day is about THEM, so naturally my favorite photos are the ones of them, that I can get creative with, and show their love. It was a very small ceremony, about 25 people off a cliff in Cape Cod. It was a sunrise wedding, the views were gorgeous, it was very intimate and not stressful whatsoever. After the wedding, I was able to go around with just the couple to get a ton of photos of them in the most magical setting.
In your opinion what makes a good wedding great?
Something that makes a great wedding is no pressure. I love when my couples TRUST me and let me do my thing. It seems like when there are a ton of shots they saw on pinterest, those are just posed, they aren't the REAL moments of the day. Sure, you can get photos in a pretty place, have the prettiest details, but if the couple isn't insanely in love and there isn't that beautiful raw emotion throughout the day, it makes a huge difference. Sure you have pretty photos, but the documentation of that emotion that is unique to you and your day isn't there. I love when the couple is relaxed, lets the day happen, has the best day of their lives along with the most important people in their lives, that's what makes a great wedding and when you get the best photos.
See more of Kathy's magical work on her website, kathydaviesphotography.com