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PHOTOGRAPHER SPOTLIGHT | AARON REEL PHOTOGRAPHY

Aaron Reel Post Header

Aaron Reel HeadshotBusiness Name: Aaron Reel Photography

Website: www.aaronreel.com

Where are you based out of? South Carolina

Are you currently a part-time or full-time photographer? Full Time

What is your predominant photographic specialization? Weddings

What camera(s) do you currently shoot with? Canon 5d Mark iii

How would you define your style? Documentary/Candid Documentary/Candid

What motivated you to become a photographer?
I started shooting family sessions and portrait sessions which led to several small wedding opportunities for family members. I previously worked as a designer and several different architecture firms. After a few years, I started getting so busy with photography that I made a leap of faith and have been a full-time wedding photographer for 5 years now.

What is it that you try to convey with your work?
For weddings, I try to convey the story of a wonderfully special day between two families. I like to document these moments for them to share and remember for the rest of their lives.

How do you accomplish that?
I accomplish that by documenting every little detail of a wedding. The smiles, the tears, the love that is shared with one another. I try to capture little things that will be forgotten after that day but will remain with them forever. It’s all part of their story.

Have you had a photographer inspire your work, and if so, who and why?
There are many talented inspiring photographers that have influenced my photography. One that stands out to me the most is Mike Colon. I have always appreciated his style, personality and his love for helping other photographers learn the business.

What is your most memorable accomplishment so far in your photography career?
My greatest accomplishments happen every time a client tells me how happy they are with the images that I produce.

What is one thing you have learned during your career?
Do what makes you happy.

Which Photographer Supply Company products do you currently use?
I always use custom wood flash drives as part of my deliverable package to wedding clients.

How have Photographer Supply Company products helped your business?
Wedding clients are always impressed when I deliver a wedding package to them, and part of that is because of Photographer Supply Company!

PHOTOGRAPHER SPOTLIGHT : LINDSEY LEIGH WEDDINGS

Business Name: Lindsey Leigh Weddings

Website: www.lindseyleighweddings.com

Where are you based out of? Charleston

Are you currently a part-time or full-time photographer? Full time

What is your predominant photographic specialization? Weddings

What camera(s) do you currently shoot with? Nikon D750

How would you define your style? A Bright and colorful documentary approach with a love of styling details, and formal portraits.

What motivated you to become a photographer?
I always had an interested in photography. I started in the darkroom when film was still the main medium. After the transition to digital, I did a lot of nature and wildlife photography as a hobby but it wasn’t until I was laid off from my 9-5 job in the nonprofit sector that I really pushed to find a way to make photography my full-time job.

What is it that you try to convey with your work?
I aim to highlight the unique style of every event and emphasize the deep love and personality of every couple. I love using photography as a means of telling a romantic love story.

How do you accomplish that?
I love bride and groom portraits, it gives me an opportunity to use my own creativity and find ways to make each individual couple look beautiful. When not shooting portraits I like to be a fly on the wall, documenting everything without being too intrusive. That way I can really capture who you are in your own skin without the pressure of
the camera too up close and personal. However, I will definitely pull people aside to arrange a great photo if there is an opportunity begging and the light is just perfect.

Have you had a photographer inspire your work, and if so, who and why?
Hunter McRae has been my friend, mentor and one of the photographers I look up to more than anyone else. She has given me insight into the business and taught me so much, she is also a graceful and gorgeous human being inside and out. Without her, I would have never been able to get where I am today.

What is your most memorable accomplishment so far in your photography career?
Being invited to shoot an event in Las Vegas with one of my favorite photographers (See above – Hunter McRae) from Charleston. It meant so much to me that she trusted me to work alongside her, and meeting a few celebrities at the after party was a real, ‘this is my life?!’ moment.

What is one thing you have learned during your career?
That as photographers, we are worth more than we give ourselves credit. I spent way too many years undercharging. It wasn’t until I found my voice and gave myself the credit I felt I deserved that I was finally able to break free from barely scraping by, and attract the kind of clients I’d always dreamed of. The products from Photography Supply Co. then allowed me to impress this new found client base that had higher expectations for the delivery of their final product.

Which Photographer Supply Company products do you currently use?
Engraved USB drives
Engraved USB boxes

How have Photographer Supply Company products helped your business?
The products from Photography Supply Co. have allowed me to add a personal touch to my final product (I usually have the couple’s names engraved on the flash drives and my branding on the boxes). I love getting feedback from clients with how impressed they are with the delivered package. These products really helped me elevate my business to a higher professional standard.

PHOTOGRAPHER SPOTLIGHT : ARDEE CHUA PHOTOGRAPHY

Business Name:   Ardee Chua Photography

Website:    www.ardeechuaphoto.com

Where are you based out of?    Nashville, TN

Are you currently a part-time or full-time photographer?    Part-time

What is your predominant photographic specialization?   Weddings

What camera(s) do you currently shoot with?    Canon 5d Mk4 and 5d Mk3

How would you define your style?
My photography can be defined as lifestyle. They are candid but I give direction so that my clients look their best.  My background is in street photography so it’s a bit raw and documentary.  I appreciate the aesthetics of proper composition that you would find in classical works but I understand that emotion trumps everything.

What motivated you to become a photographer?
My daughter Kylee was growing up too fast (she’s 14 now) and I wanted to capture every moment.  When she started middle school, she was suddenly too cool to pose for me so I started taking pictures wherever I traveled.  I found myself taking pictures of people and loving it.  The Golden Gate Bridge doesn’t make San Francisco; rather, the people that lived in San Francisco make San Francisco.

My neighbor is an accomplished wedding photographer and started to ask me to second shoot weddings for her.  From there I was hooked on photographing weddings.

What is it that you try to convey with your work?
I want to convey the emotion and “soul” of the occasion.  I want the viewer to feel like they are there.  I want those who attended and see my photographs later to remember the smells, tastes, sounds, and what they were feeling.


How do you accomplish that
I prefer to shoot with wide-angle lenses; this forces you to shoot close.  When you shoot close, you have to engage with the subject and be part of it.

Have you had a photographer inspire your work, and if so, who and why?
There are many photographers that have influenced me and continue to mentor me directly or indirectly.

Roberto Valenzuela taught me to be intentional and to understand the science and math behind posing and light.  Jerry Ghionis rapport with his clients is one to look up to.  I give each wedding party a headshot in the same manner that Peter Hurley does.

What is your most memorable accomplishment so far in your photography career?
My best accomplishments are seeing photographers that I’ve taught find success.

In a wedding a few weeks ago, my daughter graduated from being an assistant to being a full-fledged second photographer.  She did great and I was a super proud dad.

What is one thing you have learned during your career?
Don’t be afraid to collaborate with others and share your ‘secrets’. It’s natural to not share but this leads one to think in scarcity.  It’s not only negative but also self-damning.

Find new photographers and mentor them.   Find photographers you admire and connect with them.   The more you share your ‘secrets’, the more you are able to learn new things and grow your art.

Which Photographer Supply Company products do you currently use?
I use Photographer Supply Company’s engraved wooden 8GB USB drives.  They look great packaged inside the matching wooden boxes.

When possible, I find every opportunity to hand deliver the finished product.   Clients always have the best reactions.   It sets the right mood for when they view the photographs.

How have Photographer Supply Company products helped your business?
I have worked hard to be better at my art.  I had invested to be part of great networks of professionals.  I maintain a clean website, invest in good business cards, etc. but the finished product would be what the customer ultimately holds in their hands after the session.

Products from Photography Supply Company give me good consistency, a standard for perfection, and confidence.

PHOTOGRAPHER SPOTLIGHT : ZOE LITAKER PHOTOGRAPHY

Business Name: Zoe Litaker Photography

Website: www.zoelitakerphotography.com

Where are you based out of? Durham NC and Seattle WA

Are you currently a part-time or full-time photographer? Full-Time

What is your predominant photographic specialization? Dance and Weddings

What camera(s) do you currently shoot with? 5D MKIII – two at a time!

How would you define your style?
I would define my style as a blend of fine art and photojournalism. I love the challenge of capturing an incredible split-second moment in a gorgeous composition.

What motivated you to become a photographer?
I fell in love with photography when I was 13. Some people are best with words or other forms of communication, but I am best with images. When I picked up the camera, I felt like I could finally really share how I experienced the world with other people! I still love capturing the beauty of the world and sharing it with others.

What is it that you try to convey with your work?
My work is about creating and sharing a story. Whether I am working with a wedding couple or dancers, I am always asking, what’s the story here? Is it an urban dancer exploring a crazy location? Is it the shared laughter right after a couple gets married? In every case, I focus on the narrative.

How do you accomplish that?
I accomplish this through a variety of ways. The first is to know what story I am telling. For weddings, it’s the story of the whole day! But within each part of the day, getting ready, the ceremony, the reception, there are hundreds of smaller stories happening. I use composition and framing to tell those stories. Of course, who and what is in the image is the most important thing. However, almost as important is the lighting and composition. I use the rule of thirds, leading lines, depth of field, reflections, shutter speed, and location of lights to shape my composition so that it immediately draws your eye to the most important part of the photograph.

Have you had a photographer inspire your work, and if so, who and why?
Absolutely! Some of my favorites are Jodi Cobb (National Geographic photographer), Sebastião Salgado, Stephen Klein, and Jonas Bendiksen (especially his satellites series). Most of the photographers I am really drawn to are documentary photographers. They are incredible at creating visual series that are not only stunning but tell powerful stories. For fine art and compositional ideas, I often go back into art history to look at El Greco, Rembrandt, Crivelli and other painters.

What is your most memorable accomplishment so far in your photography career?
One of my most memorable accomplishments so far has been to photograph a 14 hour wedding day that included gorgeous Zimbabwean traditions as well as American traditions. Making sure I created perfect images throughout the whole day was tiring, but completely worth it! They were thrilled with their photographs.

What is one thing you have learned during your career?
It’s so hard to pick just one! But a very important lesson is that you need a team to create the best work possible. Assistants, second photographers, makeup artists, florists, caterers, and of course, lovely clients are what make for amazing photographs.

Which Photographer Supply Company products do you currently use?
I currently use the Cork & Bottle USB Flash Drive, the wooden USB’s, the Slim Book Cloth Linen 4×6 Print + USB Box Holder, the Rough Cut Fabric Matboards and the Wooden 3.5×3.5 USB Flash Drive Box.

How have Photographer Supply Company products helped your business?
Photography Supply & Co has definitely allowed me to provide more beautiful and fun products to my clients. In this business, as in many others, providing the best service and most beautiful products is really important! I love giving my clients perfectly packaged presents. I also now send matted prints with their USB, which they love.

PHOTOGRAPHER SPOTLIGHT : KENNI VIAL

Business Name: Kenni Vial

Website: www.kennivial.com

Where are you based out of? Beaverton/Portland Oregon

Are you currently a part-time or full-time photographer? Part-time

What is your predominant photographic specialization? Wedding/Couples

What camera(s) do you currently shoot with? Nikon D3

How would you define your style?
My style tends to gravitate towards a lighter and brighter look. Living in the PNW my surrounding colors are green. Lots and lots of green!

 

 

What motivated you to become a photographer?
My husband started doing sports photography for our University and our friends started asking us to take their engagement and family pictures. After we graduated we didn’t do much at all with photography for a few years. About the time my 3rd baby was born I was looking for a creative outlet so I started taking more pictures of my kids! As I posted pictures to my social media my friends started asking me to do take their pictures and it snowballed from there. I’ve been very blessed to have a lot of support from the beginning.

What is it that you try to convey with your work?
Love. It’s such a cliche, but it’s true. I want people to be happy when they look at my photos. If you see love you feel happy whether you know the subject in the photo or not.

How do you accomplish that?
It’s all about the comfort for my subjects and for me my weapon to get people happy is to make stupid jokes. They’re usually jokes poking fun of myself that gets them laughing the most and more comfortable with me in general. If I can get the couple or families laughing at me then they’re laughing together and laughter means happy and if they’re happy they’re comfortable.

Have you had a photographer inspire your work, and if so, who and why?
I’ve always loved Ansel Adams from the beginning. He had such a way of capturing the beauty of things in the simplicity of black and white It’s amazing! My friend that has sort of mentored me over the years, Brinn with Almira B Photography, has always been an inspiration to see work and then see her work. She makes the most simple shots beautiful and is never afraid to try something completely new and different. She’s all about pushing the limits, I love that.

What is your most memorable accomplishment so far in your photography career?
Probably the first wedding my husband and I shot together. It was a family friend and we basically ended up paying to do it. She asked us to fly to San Diego and we were so excited to be a part of something that important. I was still so inexperienced, but we killed it. I was so proud of us, we poured in three full days of shooting between the bridals, wedding, and two receptions. Even after editing I put together a video for them, which I’d never done before (and haven’t done since haha) and for being so new to it all I was so happy with how it all turned out and the best part was the couple was beyond thrilled! They felt so important and they saw how hard we worked. It really put a spark in me that what I did, even if financially it wasn’t worth it, the response and love we got in return and how proud we were of our work ourselves was so wonderful.

What is one thing you have learned during your career?
To do what works best for me. It’s been tricky waters to navigate being a mom of 4 full time and trying to do add in photography without becoming too overwhelmed with the tasks for both sides. I love getting suggestions or reading what works for other photographers to see what could work better for me and that helps a lot, but in the end, I’m only part-time and ‘finding the balance’ is real. I do my best with what I can do right now and I’ve had some amazing clients and many of whom return for whatever next important milestone is in their lives and I love that. Over the years I’ve gotten a lot of support and feeling of community with my little gig and it’s been a real blessing for me.

Which Photographer Supply Company products do you currently use?
Right now I’ve been using the wooden USBs’ and the coordinating wooden magnet lid boxes. They’ve been so beautiful and my clients are always so impressed with the extra thought of the packaging.

How have Photographer Supply Company products helped your business?
The products that I’ve used from PSCo have been my all time favorite. You can’t beat the price and the quality. It doesn’t feel cheap and I love that, plus you can create whatever feel you like with the products.

PHOTOGRAPHER + VIDEOGRAPHER SPOTLIGHT | THE COMPASS POINTS HERE

Name: Courtney & Michael Kent

Business Name: The Compass Points Here

Website: www.thecompasspointshere.com

Where are you based out of? Traverse City, Michigan

Are you currently a part-time or full-time photographer? Full-time

What is your predominant photographic specialization? Weddings and Editorial food and lifestyle

What camera(s) do you currently shoot with? Canon 5DMKIII

 

How would you define your style?
Fun. Happy. Centered on people and relationships. We want our work to be beautiful of course – but going beyond just pretty imagery, we are hoping to capture the heightened emotions and incredible joy that takes place on a wedding day. We also greatly prefer natural light to artificial sources and want to shoot outside as much as possible!

What motivated you to become a photographer?
When I was young I loved photographs and spent tons of time looking through albums that my mom would put together. I also discovered boxes of much older photographs at the homes of my grandparents and great grandparents, and I would ask them about the images – many of which documented the immigration of my family to the United States from Denmark. I would ask my great grandfather questions about his family and the fishing town he grew up in, and it felt like I was becoming a little family historian at the age of 10. It wasn’t until high school that I started to love actually taking pictures myself.

Michael has a fairly similar connection with videography. He has always loved movies and would spend hours analyzing them with his two brothers – comparing shooting styles, directors, soundtracks, dialogue, etc. Good storytelling has always been important to him. So you can see threads in our current work that go all the way back to aspects of our childhood.

Michael and I met at the University of Michigan’s School of Art & Design, so the beginning of our professional development really began there. However, there aren’t courses specifically for wedding photography and videography; that has been largely self-taught. Ultimately, we both have a strong desire to live creative lives and make things!

Lauren & Michael // A Wedding Trailer from THE COMPASS POINTS HERE on Vimeo.

What is it that you try to convey with your work?
While we love the flowers, the food, the details that make someone’s wedding day truly their own, we firmly believe that the most important part of the wedding day is the relationship between the couple and their family and friends. Our hope is that when a client looks back through their collection of images or watches their wedding video, they will see connection and emotion running throughout; the quiet moment when a grandmother sees her granddaughter in her dress for the first time, the big emotional moment during the middle of the vows, the hilarious joke told by a best friend during cocktail hour, the crazy multicultural dance party at the end of the night. Unique moments like this happen at each and every wedding we have the privilege of being a part of. We want to bring our clients back into that space every time they see our work.

How do you accomplish that?
This might sound obvious, but I honestly believe it starts with taking a sincere interest in each of our clients. We spend a lot of time preparing for each wedding we shoot. Our planning questionnaire is detailed and extensive. We truly believe that a lot of our success comes from attention to detail and preparation. You also have to find a balance between letting things unfold naturally and stepping in to direct a situation when necessary.

What is your most memorable accomplishment so far in your photography career?
Being asked to travel is honestly so flattering. There is so much talent in this industry, so when someone seeks you out specifically it feels so gratifying. We’ve had clients change their wedding dates to work with us or use airline miles to fly us to their wedding. That is still so amazing to me! In 2012 I was also asked to go to the Dominican Republic to document the work of the underwater archaeologist Charlie Beeker. That work has since been published in Discover, New Scientist, Sport Diver and American Archaeology magazines. I’ll always be incredibly grateful for that opportunity.

What is one thing you have learned during your career?
There is so much more to being a professional photographer & videographer than just taking photos and making videos. Customer service needs to be a huge priority for continuing success. Your clients are important and they need to feel important. So if I’m feeling overworked to the point that I’ve neglected communication or some other aspect of customer service, I always try to figure out how to remedy that quickly.

Which Photographer Supply Company products do you currently use?
We currently use – and love – the custom branded USB’s in the light wood.

How have Photographer Supply Company products helped your business?
As soon as I received our first order of custom branded USBs – I immediately felt more professional. And no one is going to take you seriously unless you take yourself seriously.

Maryal & Chris // A Wedding Trailer from THE COMPASS POINTS HERE on Vimeo.