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I decided that I wanted to do a “Featured Friday” blog series… not EVERY friday… but once a month I wanted to feature another photographer . So often the photography industry can seem like it’s all about “me me me”. How can I get more fans on facebook? How many people are checking the blog? How well known am I?…. UGH. How disgusting is that. We can be so consumed with “ME” that we stop growing all together! It’s really refreshing to see other photographers focus on something other than themselves every now and then. Justin and Mary do this with their “One’s to Watch” series and I love it.

It’s such a great reminder that there are SO MANY awesome photographers out there that I have yet to be introduced to! So! I’m starting a “Featured Friday” post. Once a month I’ll be introducing you to a photographer that I love and that I think you should love too! So for April…meet TORI from Marvelous Light Photography! She’s a sweetheart and we met a few months back at a Photographer’s Unite meetup. When I first saw her I thought “Really, why do I have straight hair”?! Her hair is just as awesome as her sweet personality. She is an incredibly talented photog who just moved from Indiana to VA!  So give her a big welcome and get to know her a little bit!!

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1.  Who are you?! Where are you located?! And if you could have a $1000 giftcard to ANY store, what store would that be?!

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Why hello! I’m Tori Watson and I just recently moved to Richmond, VA after getting married to the most amazing guy on the earth. (I realize you would argue this point, because you also have a husband, but we can both just continue with our own biased opinions of who gets that title. Haha. I had previously lived in Indiana my entire life, and will always be a Hoosier at heart, but am really enjoying the transition to this new, beautiful state and lovely city! If I could have a $1000 gift card to any store, it would hands-down be Anthropologie. I’m such a sucker for outrageously beautiful, eclectic, vintage-inspired clothing and home decor and could spend ungodly amounts of money there if it were available to me. 

2. Tell us about your business! How did you get started? When did you fall in LOVE with wedding photography?!

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My business is called Marvelous Things Photography which I’ve felt has been perfect for me, because I really believe everything I get to capture – love, romance, committment, beauty, family – is truly marvelous. The process of me getting started with photography, though, is somewhat of a vague one. It definitely started with mine and my sister’s love for essentially playing dress-up and doing photoshoots with each other for fun during our highschool years. Initially, she was much more of the photographer and I was her willing subject. But slowly, over time, that shifted and I wanted to be taking the photos. So, after a lot of encouragement from photographer-friends, in the fall of 2007 I decided to get a starter DSLR and give this whole photography thing a shot. Several years, classes (and world-traveling photographic trips) later here I am! I’m grateful that the more I dabbled in photography, the more my passion and desire grew. It’s like the Lord was just confirming, step-by-step, that this is what I wanted to do. And I think I love it more each day! I’ll always be grateful for the first few friends who hired me to shoot their wedding, taking a chance on me when I was still very much learning. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.

3. Tell us about your ALL TIME FAVORITE wedding that you have shot in the past! What did you love about it?

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Wow, this is SO hard. I’ve been privileged to shoot some really, really fantastic weddings. But, I have to say one that still stands out to me was the wedding of my childhood friend Karyn and her husband Dan. It was in early October of 2009, in Nashville, TN on the absolutely PERFECT sunshiny, fall day. Dan & Karyn had the perfect amount of style and unique personality woven throughout their entire day – like wearing converse tennis shoes (bride included), having boxed lunches & cotton candy at their outdoor picnic-like reception, and choosing a location for wedding party photos at a cute, historical town with train cars. Not only were they fun, care-free and full of personality, they were one of the most easy-going, joyful, obviously-in-love couples I’ve ever worked with. All of that combined made for a gorgeous wedding and a day that was a blast for everyone involved.

4.  How did you decide on your branding!?

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It was a tough process. I’m not the world’s most decisive person, so I KNEW I was going to need professional help from someone incredibly creative who would be able to catch my vision for the feel of my brand. I knew I wanted something that expressed the fun, whimsical side of my style and personality, but that would work for branding both weddings and portraits. Something clean, simple, and professional while being pretty, artsy and fun. And the kicker was I knew I wanted an actual logo object of some sort. Well, the wonderfully brilliant Jennifer Olmstead of Deleted Space Creative (http://www.deletedspacecreative.com/) came to my rescue and designed the perfect combination of everything I wanted. The gold chair logo was inspired by this fabulous vintage chair that my sister owns that we involved in many of the first photoshoots I ever did. It was some of my original inspiration, and therefore was the perfect logo to embody me and my photographic style and journey.

5. During your first year of business, what is one thing that you would have done differently?

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I would have most definitely second-shot weddings before agreeing to shoot weddings for my friends, which consequently ended up being my first wedding-shooting experiences. I look back and know that I could have done so much better for them if I’d had some assistant experience, first. But you live and learn.

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6. What is your favorite part of the wedding day!?

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The time that I get to spend shooting portraits of just the couple. I LOVE to see them interact with each other and the way they look at each other – the joy and excitement of finally being husband and wife. I don’t think there’s anything else quite like that brilliant glow, and I love how it comes out in their interactions and thus the photos. It’s just the sweetest time of the day, in my opinion.

7. List two goals you have for 2011! They can be as big as “Shoot a wedding in FIGI!” or as small as “Reorganize my craft closet”! haha

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Well, I’ve actually been inspired by YOU to have monthly personal and business goals that I tackle and achieve – which has been awesome! But I would say my overall biggest goals for this year are to really work on getting my wedding photos featured/published, which is something I never attempted before now, and to get the business side (contracts, finances, workflow) more streamlined. And while I’m at it…I certainly wouldn’t mind if I got booked to shoot an amazing wedding in a European location.

8. Who has been your BIGGEST supporter and encourager for your business? Who is your cheerleader?!

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My family, for sure. My dad has been a self-employed small business owner for over 25 years, and my whole family has experienced what it means to pave your own path and start a business. It’s not easy (as any other photographer reading this knows!) but they’ve always encouraged, supported and helped me when I needed to know that I really COULD attempt this. My business definitely wouldn’t be where it is today without the wise input of my parents, and the enthusiastic support of my siblings.

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9. How would you describe your style?!

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I would say my personal and photographic styles go pretty well hand in hand. Fun, fairly clean and simple, but with a touch of whimsy and whenever possible, vintage-inspired.

10. What inspires you?!

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Gosh, SO many things inspire me. I’m a pretty visual person, though, so usually seeing things brings me the most inspiration. Looking outside and noticing the weather, scrolling through a blog and noticing a crafty DIY project, flipping through the latest Anthropologie catalogue or simply spotting a particular color that jumps out at me. These are all things that my mind will take and run with and create something entirely different from. I’m definitely heavily inspired by my environment, though, too. So if I’m working from home for an afternoon I love to put on favorite music, make a cup of my favorite tea and light some candles and it always amazes me how much more inspired, creative and driven I feel, no matter what task is currently on my plate.

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Be sure to connect with Tori :

TWITTER: www.twitter.com/marvelousphoto

BLOG:www.marvelousphoto.blogspot.com

WEBSITE:www.marvelousthingsphotography.com

FACEBOOK:www.facebook.com/MarvelousThingsPhoto

13 Comments Photography
  1. Shuva Rahim reply

    What a great idea, and an excellent first post for your Friday series! So great to learn of what other photographers are doing, and how you can learn from them! You actually inspired me last year to do a Wedding Wednesday series, which I have successfully maintained every week!!! … and I’m going to be starting another series on the blog on Fridays next months… so excited, so much to blog about so little time… keep up the great work, though!

  2. sharon elizabeth photography reply

    perfect idea!! this is why i love you katelyn – because you’re never just thinking about yourself!!!

  3. Sarah Danaher reply

    Awwwww, it’s my curly-hair-twin and dear friend Tori!! I LOVE this girl!! Thanks for featuring her!

  4. ashley barnett reply

    Love this idea Katelyn! And her logo rocks!

  5. katie g reply

    katie likes !!!!!!!! :) thanks for sharing KK

  6. Beth Harris reply

    Tori, your pictures are as beautiful as you are!

  7. Korie reply

    I’m so glad you posted this! I met Tori at the Photographer’s Unite, too, and just loved her and her style! Also, I have major hair envy :)

  8. Erica Rose reply

    This is a GREAT idea Katelyn!! I’ve been feeling discouraged by the ‘me me me’ mentality lately…so this is very refreshing to see!

  9. Tori reply

    thanks again, katelyn! you’re SO sweet and i’m honored to be featured on this here incredible blog. :)

    thank you everyone else for the kind words, too! i’m so encouraged today. :)

  10. Jill Samter Photography reply

    Katelyn I love this series. Oh Tori your photography is beautiful and so are you! I hope you will look into my I AM BEAUTIFUL Project that I am hosting with Lexi our 16 yr old daughter. You both shine so brightly His beauty! Hugs and blessings – I get more excited daily to move to VA – especially after seeing this post!

  11. rebekah j. reply

    i love everything about this post and you two : )

  12. Kristina.Neighbour reply

    It’s Fiji, not Figi! ;) But I loved this post.

  13. Alicia Swedenborg reply

    what a lovely idea, always love to read about other photograpgers!!

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