through her posts! So of COURSE, I thought she would be the perfect, most entertaining photog to grace us with her presence (pun intended:)! ….. I’m actually cracking myself up right now! … Katelyn, it wasn’t THAT funny. It’s midnight…. and I’m planning for a workshop AND pre-blogging AND I’m tired……. so maybe, instead of rambling on and cracking more BAD jokes, I should just let Abby do the talking!!! Enjoy!
1. Tell us about yourself! Name, Location and the weirdest thing you could possibly tell us about yourself! (Ex: I can’t bend my last three toes… true story, I really can’t)
My name is Abby, and I’m a passionate, outspoken, loud, fun-loving, God-praising and head-over-heels-in-love-with-life photographer based out of the Washington DC area, where I live with my awesome hubs Matt and our super cute puppy, Lily. Weirdest thing about myself…ugh. I can’t believe I’m admitting this: when I was younger(er) I would make microwave popcorn JUST so that I could rip the bag apart and lick the butter off. I know! It’s so weird! My mom used to fuss at me about my cholesterol levels, but I’m proud to say my blood pressure is doing just fine!
2. When did you first consider the fact that photography could be a CAREER?! What or who helped you come to this conclusion?
It was during my junior year at Radford- I was taking a dark room photography class and I realized I was kind of good at this whole “photography thing” and that I really REALLY loved taking people’s portraits. I remember sitting down with my photo professor Kathleen and asking her if I was just being ridiculous, or if this was something I could realistically pursue after college. I got into wedding photography after emailing around to a bunch of local photographers and finding a mentor, Mike, who taught me a lot of what I know in regards to running a business. I’d say Kathleen put the spark in me and Mike really helped to stoke the flames.
3. What is your FAVORITE part of the wedding day to photograph and why?
Oh gosh, that’s so hard to choose! I really do love the beginning of the day- the calm before the storm, when my bride is getting ready to make the biggest commitment of her life. There are so many things that take place in that bridal suite prior to the wedding- her mom and dad coming in to see her, her bridesmaids’ faces when she finally has her dress on, everything. It such a beautiful couple of hours and I really look forward to that part of the day. The emotion is so raw and organic.
4. How long have you been shooting and who has been your BIGGEST supporter throughout this journey?
That’s a complicated question J. I first started exploring photography in that dark room class, so about three years ago, but I didn’t shoot my first wedding until the end of 2009. I spent about a year and a half second shooting under Mike before I finally ventured out and began taking my own weddings, a little more than a year ago. So I guess you could say I’ve been shooting for two years, and on my own for about a year! My biggest supporter has EASILY been my husband Matt. There have been days when I’m so overwhelmed with everything on my to-do list, or so intimidated by the “big names” in the industry that all I want to do is quit, but Matt is the one there pushing me ever forward because we both know that this is exactly what I’m called to be doing.
5. If you’re ok with sharing…. what’s a mistake you’ve made that we can all learn from! (Come on, we’ve all had our share of whoopsies! )
Besides that one time when I accidentally left my favorite lens (the one I shoot 95% of a wedding with) at home on a wedding day? I’d have to say it was taking on clients that didn’t fit with me or my vision for my business. It’s SO TRUE what Katelyn, Jasmine and Justin & Mary say about how taking on clients who don’t fit won’t just hold you back, it’ll actually damage your business. I had the mentality that nearly every new photographer has; I thought I needed to book every client that was willing to sign with me. It crippled me by not only making me resent myself for my decisions, but I was also putting my name out there as a photographer of the kinds of weddings I didn’t want to be shooting, thus inviting more couples of a similar disposition. I was so frustrated with myself! Once I finally realized that I needed to hold out for my ideal client, my job satisfaction skyrocketed through the roof. Learning to say “I think I know of another photographer that you all will love infinitely more” is the absolute best thing I can do for my business.
6. If you had to describe your BRAND and your STYLE, how would you do that in three words? This is hard, I know.
Super flipping awesome. Just kidding. Probably “passionate, bright and fresh.” I love authentic, organic emotion and bright, colorful images!
7. Who are three photographers that you follow and why do you love their work so much?
Oh this is easy- Katelyn James (duh), Jasmine Star and Just & Mary. All three (well, four) of these photographers have a lot in common- they’re all generous, humble, they freely give to other photographers, and they’re sources of inspiration with images so beautiful it actually hurts sometimes. I love that their styles are all different, too, so I’m not only inspired with the advice they offer but also by the images they display. I can always count on Katelyn’s blog for a million and one posing ideas, Jasmine Star’s work encourages me to really keep things high-end and classy, and Justin & Mary’s lighting makes me want to melt. Three completely different types of visual inspiration to constantly keep me full of fresh ideas, wanting to go out, create, and make things my OWN, not just recreate what they’ve already done.
8. What advice would you give a new photographer who is just starting out?
Second shoot as much as you possibly can and do your research! Second shooting gives you a chance to photograph a wedding without the pressure of being the primary photographer, and you get the added experience of watching how an experienced professional handles a wedding day. When I say do your research, I mean study. Go out and read other photographer’s blogs, trade magazines, online tutorials- find what YOU like, not what others say you should like. And lastly, shoot shoot shoot! It’ll only strengthen your in-camera skills and your ability to really find your voice and style.
9. What’s your favorite place to buy SHOES? And what’s your favorite place to buy PURSES?!
I’m actually a fashion disaster- I think I buy two or three pairs of shoes a year, if that. It’s so sad! But if I had to pick one place for shoes, it’d be DSW. They never fail me! And purses? TJ Max all the way!
10. What has been your FAVORITE wedding or engagement session to date?! Include a link so we can all see!:)
Can I answer this in two parts? Yes? Great! Ok so my favorite e-session was with Jamie and Abbeigh in Annapolis- they are so in love and so much fun in front of a camera! I can’t wait to shoot their wedding! And my favorite wedding? I’d have to say David and Chrissy’s was my favorite. Their ceremony was so genuine and heartfelt, and we were blessed with a rainbow right after dinner was served. It was beautiful!
Be Sure to FOLLOW Abby!