Today’s wedding photographer interview is with Jason Gardner Photography of New York City. LOVE the photos below, check them out!
Tell us a bit about yourself and your company
I have been a professional photographer for nine years, and have been doing wedding photography for six years, along with editorial, commercial, and other photography work. I tell stories using visual anthropology, which means I capture everything that builds up the culture of the day.
One question I always ask couples is, “What’s important to you?” Not just what family members you want photographed, but also what aspects of your wedding, or what you’re wearing, is important to your family. A few years ago, the groom had a pair of cufflinks that had been in the family for four generations, so I took special care to include them in the photos.
See the rest of the interview after the cut!
Also, I include a free engagement session before the wedding, so they can use it for an announcement or the couple’s Facebook pages, and they feel more comfortable in front of the camera on the big day.
My editorial work has been published in The NY Times, New York Magazine, Rolling Stone, and NPR.org. Commercial and nonprofit clients include HBO, Ogilvy & Mather, Direct TV, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and the UJA-Federation of NY.
A bit about me: I’m currently producing a photography book on traditional musicians and culture in Brazil’s Northeastern state of Pernambuco. I enjoy gardening on the roof of my Brooklyn apartment, biking, and taking care of my cats Butch and Sundance.
How did you get into wedding photography?
It started with me shooting a few friends’ weddings, and when they saw and appreciated the great images of their special day, I also realized that I enjoy documenting these types of events.
What is your favorite part of the wedding day to capture?
The unscripted candid moment – when the father is giving last minute advice to his daughter as he is waiting to walk her down the aisle, the emotion on a mother’s face as she dances with her son, the sheer joy of a guest dancing at the party afterwards. The biggest compliment I have ever received is from the father of a bride. He told me, “ You’re doing such a good job, we don’t even notice that you’re here!”
What is the most awkward moment you’ve experienced while on the job?
One very hot and humid summer wedding, during the ceremony, since the bride was looking so beautiful, all attention was on her. I noticed that an adorable great uncle started to waver in the heat, drawing attention from a few people around him. While I attempted to keep shooting, I told someone from the groom’s party to get him a cold glass of water asap. While that was coming, the uncle passed out, falling out of his chair. The water arrived right away, the uncle revived in seconds in good health, just a bit bewildered, and causing a few smiles over the minor interruption, instead of a real diversion from the ceremony.
What’s the best thing you ever ate at a wedding?
It was one of the first weddings I shot, it was up in Maine. They had a traditional lobster bake, where they cook the lobsters and corn in a firepit, dug in the beach! It was beautiful and interesting process, and everything was cooked to perfection! Yum! This certainly helped the mood of the wedding guests!
What is your favorite venue and why?
A wedding I photographed at Seneca Lake, it was a spectacular location, the water was just beautiful. Outdoor settings provide more options and it relaxes people, which makes a big difference in the final photo. The people were really kind and good-natured, the music was good, and the whole event was a lot of fun. But then again, I try to have fun at every wedding.
Nikon or Canon?
I shoot primarily Nikons. As well, I use film on request – medium format Mamiya camera to provide deep and rich colors, and in square format for a classic look for portraits.
What is your dream location to shoot a wedding?
I think destination weddings are fantastic, not just for visuals but for everyone’s mood. They are usually taking a weekend to relax and show their love and support for the bride and groom. Plus, I get a chance to get to know everyone better, which allows for better photos. So, some dream locations would be Nantucket or Cape Cod, the Outerbanks of North Carolina, Caribbean destinations like Aruba or the Bahamas, or even Central American destinations like Costa Rica or Belize! Let’s go!
If you could shoot any celebrity wedding (past, present or future), who would be the lucky couple?
I don’t follow celebrity weddings enough to know them that well. I guess it would be Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, because you never know what they plan. They are both pretty darn stylish, and you know the location would be incredible–some far-flung spot in Africa or their castle in France. Or, they could surprise everyone and choose a very low-key venue. Either way, they are interesting because they are constantly giving something back, and they use their celebrity sometimes for good causes.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned, and would pass along to other new wedding photographers just getting started?
Get to know your bride and groom. Ask to hear the story of how they met. Do a lot of planning with them. Really understand every step of their wedding day, from when they get ready, where the ceremony and reception will be, and work with them to figure out locations where they want to do the portraits well beforehand. Sort out all details and logistics, including lists and configurations for portraits of the family and friends. Anything to reduce stress or guesswork on the hectic day. Last – try to have some fun with the wedding!
Thanks Jason! For more about Jason Gardner Photography, check out his WeddingPhotoLove profile, or head straight to his website.
Any questions or comments for Jason? Leave them in the comments!