Jessica of Jessica Schmitt Photography based in New York, NY has some great advice for all you budding wedding photographers and couples out there! Enjoy:
Tell us a bit about yourself and your company
Hi! My name is Jessica Schmitt and I am a wedding photographer based in New York City. I LOVE weddings! I love the excitement, the beauty, the romance, the fun and the celebration of a wedding day. I started my business in 2009 and now photograph weddings throughout the East Coast and wherever my couples want to go! I describe my style as natural, emotional and artistic. I focus on candid moments, natural portraits and all the special details.
Read the full interview after the cut!
How did you get into wedding photography?
After receiving a BFA from Pratt Institute, I was working as a studio photographer for a really fun New York cookie company called Eleni’s. While I was working with them, they asked me to cover their participation in local events. I went to the New York Food and Wine Event and a bridal show and realized how much I loved the energy of photographing an event. It was then that I decided to start my own business and focus my artistic eye on weddings. I immediately knew I had made the right decision and found a career that would bring me great satisfaction and make me as happy as the couples I photographed.
I have photographed all kinds of weddings from big lavish events to small backyard BBQ-style weddings, from intimate elopements in Central Park to huge weddings with 400 guests, from chic, classic receptions with a skyline view to funky hipster weddings in a garden in Brooklyn–and that’s part of what I love about weddings. Every couple is unique and I have the honor of capturing their story.
What is your favorite part of the wedding day to capture?
There are so many special moments that make up a wedding day, but I do have some favorites. One of them is seeing the bride in her dress for the first time. It is a moment full of emotion and excitement. I also love photographing the couple when it is just the two of them. The wedding day is so busy and often goes by in a blur, but when the couple can step away for some intimate portraits, there is an ease and comfort in having a few moments together. We can walk around to some picturesque spots, have some fun and get some really beautiful photos.
What is your favorite venue and why?
There are so many amazing wedding venues in New York. I love photographing any venue that has character and really reflects the style of the bride and groom. Some of my favorite locations from 2014 were Wave Hill along the Hudson River for its gorgeous blooms and gardens, 501 Union in Brooklyn for its retro elegance, and The Foundry in Long Island City for its industrial charm and unique floorplan.
Nikon or Canon?
What is your dream location to shoot a wedding?
I would love to photograph a destination wedding in Europe. Travel is a passion of mine. Paris is so full of romance. I went there for my honeymoon and the city swept me off my feet with its charming city lights, vibrant art collection, and parks and bridges that were made for romantic strolls. This past spring, my husband and I took a trip to Southern Germany and I kept thinking it would be an incredible place for a wedding. From the Neuschwanstein Castle to the medieval city of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, I felt like I had stepped into a fairytale.
We were surrounded by enchanting castles, horses, swans, gorgeous mountains, elaborate fountains, towering trees, and stories of princes and princesses. I took tons of photos and as I stood in some of the really romantic locations I was wishing I had a bride and groom with me! I am planning a trip to London and Paris in late May to early June if anyone happens to be there and would like engagement photos, I’m in!
If you could shoot any celebrity wedding (past, present or future), who would be the lucky couple?
My dream wedding to photograph is based on my favorite movie–if the lead characters in Moulin Rouge had lived happily ever after and gotten married, I would have loved to photograph their fictional wedding! Can you imagine how beautiful it would be!? Especially if Baz Lurhman designed it.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned, and would pass along to other new wedding photographers just getting started?
The first year of shooting weddings can be crazy. There is so much to learn. Be a sponge! I spent a lot of time listening to and learning from other photographers on CreativeLive, learning about running a business, and trying to shoot as much as I possibly could.
What tips or advice can you give to couples who are looking to hire a photographer to cover their big day?
Of course, you want to find a talented photographer who has a style you love, has excellent reviews and is professional and experienced. Furthermore, you want to like your photographer. You will be spending pretty much your entire wedding day with this person. I work very hard to make my couple’s feel comfortable, stress-free and able to enjoy the entire photography experience from beginning to end.
What tips or advice can you give to couples to help them on their wedding day?
The simplest piece of advice I can give is to keep everything at one location. It can’t always work, but if it is possible to choose a venue that can host your ceremony, cocktail hour and reception, it eliminates so much stress! Not only does it make it easier for your guests, but now you do not have to worry about traffic or travel concerns. Especially in NYC, you never know if you might have to travel across town and get stuck because of a marathon, construction, or even 5,000 people doing yoga.
Limiting your day to one venue also gives you more time to breathe and relax in between all the events, and gives you more time for photos. If you had to choose to spend an hour driving across a bridge or an hour taking more awesome, beautiful photos–the choice is simple!
Great advice, Jessica! On the hunt for a wedding photographer in New York, NY? Or for your destination wedding in Europe? Check out her WeddingLovely Vendor Guide profile or head straight to her website.
Do you have any questions or comments for Jessica? Add them to the comments below!