Tell us a little about yourself!
I’ve been a professional photographer for 15 years in various areas of interest – advertising, commercial studio photography, professional retouching, and now portraits and weddings! I have AA in photography from SFCC and BA in photography from Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, CA. I’ve lived and worked in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and now Spokane. I moved back to Spokane to be near family once I had my daughter. It’s a great city to have your own business, raise a family, and not be stuck in traffic for half of your day! I’ve been doing weddings in Spokane for about 5 years now and I love the professional wedding community we have here.
How would you describe your style of photography?
When photographing a wedding I find myself practicing several styles. I enjoy shooting in a photojournalistic style and just capturing candid moments. It’s very important to set up shots with the couple, the family groups, and the number of events that happen at a wedding. I have to be very organized, thoughtful, and on schedule to capture those things. I also use my love of commercial photography to get those detail shots! I enjoy taking a few moments to concentrate on the details that every bride has put into the wedding such as flowers, shoes, rings, and decorations.
Where does your love and background for photography come from?
I have always loved photography and art! When I was younger I often struggled with other art forms that I loved, but felt like I could never quite get it right. Once I started with photography I never felt a struggle, it was just so natural for me. We have a lot of photographers in our family on all sides of the family. My dad loves photography, my grandfather (my moms dad) was a wedding photographer, and on my other side of the family we even have Ansel Adams in the bloodline! I am very thankful that my family has always supported my dream of being a photographer. I feel fortunate to have always known what I wanted to do as a profession.
Is there a reason you like photographing weddings?
Weddings require a combination of skills to successfully photograph the day. I love that! I have to be on my toes all day using a large set of skills. I am an organizer, artist, planner, fixer, time keeper, therapist, dress fixer, stylist, comedian, and so much more. I don’t just show up and click the camera, which is what keeps it interesting every single time. I love being there to help a family and a couple have the best experience, and capturing all the memories to share later.
How far in advance (before their wedding) should couples take their engagement photos?
Generally couples should do engagement photos about six months to a year before their wedding. That way there is time to get the photos they need and get their save the dates sent out. Also, think about how you want your announcements to look. If you’d like your photos to have a particular look, you will need to have them taken in the season you prefer!
How do you help photograph kids in a wedding party?
First of all, I’m a mom and a family portrait photographer, so this comes pretty easy for me. I position the kids in the group with someone they feel comfortable with and we start from there. As they warm up, I can then take more photos of them without them being shy, or nervous.
During warmer weather, what steps should a bride take to look fresh in photos?
First of all the bride needs to have the right kind of makeup on to last the day and still look good. Professional makeup is a must! Let your makeup stylist guide you and use the best products for the heat. Set aside time at a half way point in the day to freshen up your makeup (ask your makeup stylist for advice on touch-ups). Be sure to stay hydrated and let your photographer know if you need to stand in the shade, or take a break.
What are ways couples can add personal touches to their engagement photos?
The best way to add a personal touch is let your photographer know more about you. For example, one of the of the couples I had loved the lake, picnics, and wine. So, we went out to the lake and did part of our session with a blanket, picnic basket, and wine. The rest of the session turned out beautiful and unique because of the location we chose. Other coupes have brought their pets, or props that say something unique about them.
If you were planning your own wedding or event, what is something you would make sure to include?
The most important thing for me would be to hire professionals to help me reach my vision of the wedding I imagined. There is so much value in hiring someone who has experience and can handle any situation that arises. I would like to enjoy my day and let the people that I hired help me do that. I work hard to produce these results for all my couples.
Another important element would be an adequate amount of time for photos! While guests are waiting I believe it is crucial that they always have something to do. Whether it be a wonderful DJ that is your host and is keeping your guests entertained, or a simple offering of food and drink to keep people occupied.
And lastly, any additional tips you believe would be helpful!
People are temped to save a few dollars here and there by using an iPod instead of a DJ or asking a friend do photograph their wedding instead of a professional wedding photographer. This is so often where I see things go really wrong on a wedding day. Hiring professionals for your event. Make a list of what is most important to you and hire the very best professionals that you can afford. Experience is absolutely priceless in the event industry.
Ask lots of questions! If you are hiring people that have done this for years, they can help you in all departments of the wedding. I always ask my couples how I can help and how I can refer them to other professionals that do an amazing job.
Relax and enjoy your day! You and your family are going to put an incredible amount of work into your wedding. Be sure you get to enjoy it! Don’t be stressed by the details that don’t work out. Smile and recognize what the day is really all about.
If you are a vendor interested in becoming a Commellini Estate Preferred Vendor please contact Julianne at Julianne@commelliniestate.com.