Today’s wedding photographer interview is with Patrick & Vanessa Zangardi of zeefoto, based in Cleveland, Ohio! Enjoy:
Tell us a bit about yourself and your company
zeefoto is Patrick & Vanessa Zangardi. We’re a husband and wife photography team, which is the absolute best thing in the world. We have a unique perspective on wedding photography – being able to create images and tell stories in a way that lasts a lifetime for our couples. We can be in two places at once, which really allows us to capture the story of the day from start to finish. Vanessa loves photographing the getting ready photos of the ladies while I find it cool to chat and photograph the men pre-ceremony. We really find our couples enjoy this part of their finished product because it allows them to remember such an exciting time of the day.
Read the full interview after the cut!
I (Patrick) have been shooting since 9th grade – I started in the darkroom, taking and developing my own prints in high school. I still have my first camera, a Minolta X-700; and it’s tattooed on my arm. It’s a constant reminder to not lose the passion I had and have for photography, and to remember to slow down from time to time, like in the film days.
Vanessa got the itch from me. She used to give me excuses as to why she couldn’t and wouldn’t shoot- I guess it boiled down to lack of confidence. She started to pick up interest after our son was born. I think she realized relying on photos of our son growing up solely from her cell phone just wasn’t going to cut it! She brings a nice perspective – working as a husband and wife team is a great experience and our clients really love the dynamic we bring! They love that we can capture their day in a cohesive and multi-faceted way.
How did you get into wedding photography?
Wedding photography can be a scary thing. There is a lot of pressure, and it’s very high-stakes. At first I (Patrick) shyed away. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to do it, and I wasn’t sure that I had the understanding for what makes a good wedding photographer. After Vanessa and I got married the idea of marriage and weddings wasn’t quite so scary- I knew how the day felt and what it meant to me. I try and capture the feeling of the moments so the couple can relive those feelings time and time again.
Looking at our own wedding photos, I feel that they are missing things that I really would love now, 5 years later, like the candid photojournalistic style Vanessa and I bring to weddings. We have mostly formal shots, shots with our bridal party (which were important to us then, and still are) but not so many photos of family and photos that tell our story, that we would highly value now, and in 30 more years.
What we do is take photos that really tell the full story of our client’s wedding day, including formals, posed, candids, and everything between.
What is your favorite part of the wedding day to capture?
I think Vanessa’s favorite is the getting-ready photographs and the bridal portraits. There is something different about a bride and in her demeanor after she has her hair and makeup done and her wedding dress on. The excitement in her face and eyes is something that can’t be hidden.
I really enjoy the capturing capturing the groom when he sees his bride walking down the aisle. The look on the grooms face once he sees her for the first time. That is a kind of raw love that just can’t be fabricated.
I (Patrick) also love being able to strip the couple away from the whole party for some styled shots with just bride and groom. It’s a great way for them to really be able to let the day sink in a bit, relax (just a little) and take some awesome photos that they will have forever.
The great thing about having a two year old is that a lot of things that used to be awkward aren’t so much anymore! I can’t think of anything that has stuck out as far as awkward, but now I might have jinxed myself!
What is your favorite venue and why?
The coolest wedding venue I (Patrick) have photographed was the Cleveland Hyatt Regency Arcade in downtown Cleveland. We did all of our photography inside on a cold December day when the Arcade was all decorated for Christmas. It was beautiful, and was cool to be able to photograph some portraits in a different setting than I am used to.
Nikon or Canon?
Nikon. Never really used Canon but love my Nikons. We also shoot a mirrorless Sony NEX-6 for detail shots and randomly throughout the day.
What is your dream location to shoot a wedding?
I think my dream location would be some place like Ireland or Iceland, something with this vast amount of space and green and foliage. I think it would be so cool to capture a special time in someone’s life with that as a background!
Vanessa’s dream location would be something off the beaten path- she would really like to do a colder climate like Alaska. A snowy bride would be a very cool addition to our portfolio.
If you could shoot any celebrity wedding (past, present or future), who would be the lucky couple?
I think it would be cool to photograph (chef) Michael Symon’s wedding. He is a Cleveland native and is still very invested in the city. I think Vanessa would agree on that one- she is a very big fan of him!
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned, and would pass along to other new wedding photographers just getting started?
Make sure that you listen to the bride and groom. Offer advice only if asked- if you look at our photographs, each wedding was shot with our photographic style but captured in a way that was important to our client. For example, some couples value more individual photos of bride and groom, and others really want a ton of formal portraits and fun photos with the bridal party.
We like to hear out our brides and make sure we provide them an end product that fits their style and personality. And have fun! If you have fun, they will have fun and it will show in the pictures.
What tips or advice can you give to couples who are looking to hire a photographer to cover their big day? Make sure you find someone who listens. Make sure you tell your photographer what styles you like but most important what styles you don’t. Just because a photographer might have a good “deal” doesn’t mean that the quality is there. You want to be able to enjoy these for the rest of your life, so make sure you know what you pay for.
Thanks Guys! For more information about zeefoto, please visit their WeddingLovely Vendor Guide profile or head straight to their website.
Do you have any questions or comments for Patrick or Vanessa? Add them to the comments below!