Erin Leigh has provided us with quite the interview. She told us about not one, but TWO awkward moments. More importantly, she shared lots of ah-mazing photos. Thanks Erin!
1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your company.
Well, I don’t really have a company. I’m just an artist that enjoys collaborating with couples to create heirloom art from their wedding day. It really is a collaboration for me and not so much that girl wearing all black that showed up to photograph our wedding one day. I like to get to know the couple before the day, walk the site with them when possible, and offer my artistic input. Every wedding I shoot ends when I hand the bride and groom a fine art book. I don’t just turn over hundreds of photos and leave them to their own devices. That seems so silly to me… and kind of cruel. I mean these people open themselves up and share highly intimate moments with me; it seems harsh to approach it on anything less than a personal level.
As for myself, I’m just a girl with a camera who is a vegetarian, supporter of homebirths, dancer (ballet not pole), mom, and wife.
Learn more about Erin Leigh after the jump…
2. How did you get into wedding photography?
When I was in art school, I started working for one of the leading photojournalistic wedding photographers in the Newport, Rhode Island area. I’ve come to realize that true photojournalistic shooting isn’t my style, but shooting weddings definitely was for me. I bring everything that I learned in art school to shooting weddings and I think it gives a different perspective than what’s out there.
3. What is your favorite part of the wedding day to capture?
Honestly, the bride and groom part of the day. But only after the ceremony and before the reception. Even if we’ve done a first look and got a bulk of the photos completed before the ceremony, which is really nice, I like to steal the couple away in between ceremony and reception just for five minutes and do another portrait. It’s the most honest, beautiful portrait of them. The nerves are gone because the ceremony part is over, they are about to party their a&#@ off, and they are just happy to be with each other.
4. What is the most awkward moment you’ve experienced while on the job?
There’s a tie between my own awkward moment and just witnessing one.
Mine: A wedding guest came up to me once and told me she could see my underwear… um, awwkwarrrd! I’ll do just about anything for a good shot but I’m usually really careful about putting myself into uncompromising positions so I stand by the fact that she must have been looking really closely. And now I have a foolproof wardrobe so I don’t need to worry.
The other: A caterer dropped a psycho bride’s cake in front of me when I first started and was just an assistant with a camera. I didn’t know if I should photograph it, help or just run away. I ran away. They made a new one out of cardboard and the bride never knew a thing.
5. What’s the best thing you ever ate at a wedding?
Being a vegetarian, I feel like I miss out on the food sometimes. Most people aren’t prepared for that so I get a weird after thought meal. Which doesn’t really matter because by that time I’ve been working for nearly 7 hours and I’m starving and would eat almost anything.
6. What is your favorite venue and why?
Right now, I’m in love with the ACE hotel. I haven’t shot there but it’s my favorite venue that I’m dying to shoot. I particularly like their Palm Springs venue but I’d like to shoot either their Palm Springs or New York locations. I’m drawn to their
affinity for the soulful and their design has a sense of history at the same time as being fresh and new.
7. Nikon or Canon?
Oh boy. Well, neither…
I have a soft spot in my heart for Canon since the first camera I ever shot anything with was my father’s Canon AE-1, which I still use. But Nikon has a superior quality which is why I use all Nikon digital gear. But since I shoot mostly film (my second shooter uses the digital gear), I’m a Hasselblad girl. I have two of them, both different body styles and if money were no object and I could have it my way, I would have Hasselblad digital gear as well.
8. What is your dream location to shoot a wedding?
Wyoming. While it would be nice to travel to Greece for a wedding, I feel like I see those weddings all the time, right? Wouldn’t it be fun to experiment and see what kind of art you could make with a stellar wedding in the plains of Wyoming?
9. If you could shoot any celebrity wedding (past, present or future), who would be the lucky couple?
In my past experiences, celebrity weddings are tough to shoot. Okay, so I’ve only done one but I found that celebrities have a hard time letting down their guard and truly letting a photographer in to capture those moments. They’re always “on” it seems like. So while I appreciate that celebrities wedding usually involve lavish details, good looking people and plenty of ways to make a pretty photograph (which I love to do), there is an element of humanity that is lacking. And it’s that humanity in those raw moments that interest me as a photographer.
10. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned, and would pass along to other new wedding photographers just getting started?
Value yourself and your work. Whether you are just starting in the industry working for someone else or trying to do it on your own, it is important to stand up for yourself. The integrity of the work you make is only as valuable as you make it. t the same time, there’s no place for an ego. That will always come back to haunt you.
Check out the lovely Erin Leigh on WeddingPhotoLove or visit her site to see more of her fabulous photos!