Today’s wedding photography interview is with Iliana Morton Photography of San Francisco! Love her style and attitude so much. Enjoy!
Tell us a bit about yourself and your company
My name is Iliana and I’m the owner and primary photographer of Iliana Morton Photography. I serve the San Francisco Bay Area primarily, but I tend to end up in Southern California a lot as well. I like to think that I’ve always been a photographer. Whether it was the 110 film camera with a Micky Mouse in the corner I used as a child or the old SLR camera my aunt gave to me in high school, I had always been known by my friends and family as the girl with the camera. Over the years I’ve developed my own sense of style. My photography is typically bright, colorful, and full of energy. I think it’s a mixture between photojournalism and editorial style fashion photography. I am so lucky that I have had the most amazing clients find me, and their personalities tend to fit in with my photographic style perfectly. My clients are usually fun loving, adventurous, and have a unique sense of style. My goal is always to make sure my photography reflects this as well.
See the rest of the interview and her beautiful photographs after the cut!
How did you get into wedding photography?
While studying in college my then boyfriend (now husband!) who was working as a dj at the time mentioned to me that the company he worked for was looking for a part time photographer to shoot at bar/bat mitzvahs, proms, and other events. I immediately jumped on the opportunity. I think working with kinds and young adults for most of that time definitely taught me a lot of patience! Eventually a family friend who was having a small, low budget wedding asked I could be the photographer at their wedding. I said yes, not knowing what I was getting myself into. At that point I fell in love with weddings and made up my mind that ultimately I wanted to be a wedding photographer. It took me a couple years of doing other small weddings and doing anything and everything else I could to soak up as much photographic knowledge as I was able before I found the confidence to start my own company, focusing primarily on weddings. I’m so thankful for the opportunities that have led me down this path, because weddings really are my passion.
What is your favorite part of the wedding day to capture?
My favorite part of the wedding day is definitely the feeling of anticipation leading up to the ceremony. I love being around the couple while they are getting ready in their suites before walking down the aisle. Some of my favorite photos from the day are from before the wedding even starts. I also love the part of the day that I reserve for portraits with the newly married couple because that’s our chance to relax and be creative and have a little fun together.
What is the most awkward moment you’ve experienced while on the job?
Weddings can sometimes be stressful because they are such emotionally charged events. Over the course of the past few years I’ve seen it all– crazy arguments, spills on the dance floor, drunken inappropriate guests… it’s all happened. As a professional, it’s my job to never pass judgement and not impose my own opinions, so sometimes there can be some awkward moments. I try to not think to much about them though. I will tell a funny story instead. At a wedding this summer, a groom was crouching down to get into position for a pose the bride really, really wanted to do. As he was crouching, his face and body froze and he said, “my pants ripped!” Sure enough, his pants had ripped… and then came the announcement that he decided not to wear underwear that day because it was so hot. Talk about awkward for him! Luckily this couple was really fun and easy going, so they just laughed it off and joked about it the rest of the day. A groomsman had to go to the hotel to pick up a pair of underwear for the groom, but it is funny to know that they performed their first dance, toasts, cake cutting, and all of that with a rip down the groom’s pants! I can say that the “awkward” moments are sometimes what makes the day so memorable in the end.
What’s the best thing you ever ate at a wedding?
Oh, this is a hard question to answer! I’ve been lucky to enjoy some great food prepared by amazing chefs! At a wedding I usually don’t have a lot of time to eat, so I just try to eat as many bites as I can as quickly as possible before I have to run back to the reception. Once, though, a couple really insisted that all of their vendors join their reception and enjoy a full meal. That meal was amazing! It was at a restaurant in La Jolla, CA called The Marine Room, and was some of the most delicious sea food I’ve ever had!
What is your favorite venue and why?
I’m not sure if I have a favorite venue. I am lucky that I get to work at so many different venues, and they are all great in their own ways. I think my favorite type of venue is something in the middle of a city with interesting architectural elements and a great color and design scheme. This type of venue fits my photography style perfectly, as I prefer a more urban look in my images. I recently worked with a a couple for their wedding at Hotel Vitale in San Francisco. It’s right on the waterfront with amazing views of the city and the bay. We got some great images while we played around the city.
Nikon or Canon?
I am definitely a Canon girl, but I’ve got nothing against Nikon. Canon is just what I started out using in high school, so I became comfortable with their gear, and it allows me to do what I want to do with it. I think photographers should use whatever tools help them produce the images they envision in their heads. I often have friends ask what kind of camera (DSLRs usually) they should buy, and I always tell them to pick them up and hold it and see which one feels the most comfortable in their hand, and that’s the one they should buy.
What is your dream location to shoot a wedding?
I would love to shoot a wedding somewhere completely random and unique. Maybe near a waterfall in a rainforest in Chile. A client of mine mentioned she adored the idea of getting married on the Galapagos Islands with only close family and friends. That’s not happening, but that would have been amazing! I get excited by the idea of weddings in spaces that are not typically what someone would consider a wedding venue.
If you could shoot any celebrity wedding (past, present or future), who would be the lucky couple?
I don’t know… Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain, maybe, would have been cool. I know they got married in Waikiki, and I’m sure it was just fine, but I would have loved to see them have a completely rock-n-roll grungy glam style wedding. I love rock music, so something like that would be a dream come true for me! I was only about five years old at the time, but I could have made it happen :)
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned, and would pass along to other new wedding photographers just getting started?
I feel like I am still just getting started! I’ve always considered learning a never-ending process and as photographers we should always be open to new ideas and expanding our skills. I think the advice that I’d pass on to someone just getting started is something that took me a while to learn when to say yes and when to say no. When you’re first starting it can be tempting to say yes to every job that comes your way because you need the experience. But you have to learn that it’s ok to say no if the project just doesn’t feel right to you. Sometimes we just don’t connect with certain clients and sometimes the job is not a right fit for us. Saying no will save you a huge headache later. Learning it’s good to say yes to things that might seem scary might lead you down some amazing path you never considered. Finding that yes and no balance can be hard, but you have to learn to go with your gut!
Thanks Iliana! For more about Iliana Morton Photography, check out her WeddingPhotoLove profile, or head straight to her website.
Any questions or comments for Iliana? Leave them below!