Get to Know a Wedding Photographer: By Petronella Photography (1)

Today’s wedding photographer interview is with the lovely Petronella of By Petronella Photography, based in New Jersey! Love the color and brightness in her images. Enjoy:

Tell us a bit about yourself and your company

I was born in Uganda and moved to the United States when I was 10.  I own Petronella Photography, a New York based destination multicultural wedding and proposal photography. I believe that many multicultural children struggle with the same cultural challenges I faced when my family moved to America, and one of my goals is to beautifully celebrate each couple, their story and heritage through photographs.

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How did you get into wedding photography?

As a little kid, I always carried a camera with me because I’m more of an observer vs. talker, so photography allowed me to visually express what I felt.  My dad had an old film camera which I’d “borrow” and shoot everything.  I once brought it to gym class and took photos of my sweaty classmates, who I’m sure didn’t appreciate it.

I started my wedding photography business when one of my good friends asked me to photograph their destination wedding in Mexico.  They’d seen some of my work and really liked it.  I was floored but very nervous when they first asked, so I prepared like crazy. I loved the experience so much and realized that photographing couples and telling their love story in a photojournalistic way was my passion!

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What is your favorite part of the wedding day to capture?  

The bride getting ready, it’s her last few moments as a single woman and there’s so much emotion that I was inspired to create this video.

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What is the most awkward moment you’ve experienced while on the job?

I was photographing the groomsmen getting ready and all of a sudden, the groom announced he didn’t know how to tie is bowtie and neither did any of his 8 groomsmen or anyone in the hotel, so I volunteered to be help out by being a neck model as they all watched and attempting tying a bowtie using a Youtube demo video.  It was slightly awkward but also hilarious and I advise all grooms to avidly prepare all their attire a few days before.

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What’s the best thing you ever ate at a wedding?

I have a thing for anything red velvet.  It was a melt in your mouth red velvet cake with lemon marscapone icing.

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What is your favorite venue and why?

I have yet to shoot a wedding here but I’d love to shoot a wedding at The Palace at Somerset Park simply because their goal is to go above and beyond to really take care of the bride, her family and all the wedding vendors.  Of course, nothing beats a traditional African engagement ceremony in the family’s backyard or compound. 

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Nikon or Canon?

CANON all the way.

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What is your dream location to shoot a wedding?

A wedding in the Maldives, Zanzibar or Capetown, South Africa.

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If you could shoot any celebrity wedding (past, present or future), who would be the lucky couple?

Currently, I’d love to photograph an African (Ugandan, Nigerian or Ghanaian royal wedding because of how festive and colorful celebration and the how engaged the family and community are in the wedding.

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What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned, and would pass along to other new wedding photographers just getting started?

To use who you are and your story to build your brand and not get caught up trying to be like anyone else.  Set goals and develop a solid process upfront for everything you do so you can offer a consistent, good client experience.

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Thanks Petronella! For more about By Petronella Photography, see her WeddingPhotoLove profile, or head straight to her website.

What’s your favorite photograph? Let us know below!

Headline image by Scott Hopkins Photography


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