Today’s wedding photographer interview is with Steve of Steve Rubin Photography based in Raleigh, NC! Enjoy:
Tell us a bit about yourself and your company
My name is Steve Rubin and I’m a wedding and portrait photographer based in the Raleigh, NC area. I love the energy and excitement of the wedding day. I started my business in 2010 and photograph all levels of weddings throughout North Carolina and the southeast. My wedding photography is all about telling the story of the day, capturing those special moments by blending in where everyone involved “forgets” that I’m there, and that’s when the MAGIC happens!
Read the full interview after the cut!
How did you get into wedding photography?
I’m a romantic at heart, and being married close to 28 years now, I just love the energy, emotions, and images of a wedding. I’ve been involved in one way or another with photography my entire adult life. Back in high school, my yearbook was full of comments like “we’re sure we’ll see your work in National Geographic!” Being the youngest child of Depression Era Parents, the attempt at the time to go into photography as a profession did not work. So I pursued another path professionally while keeping my creative side alive.
I was so involved in both photography and computers, that the transition from film to the digital arena was easy for me. In 2010, the urge to start another business just overtook me and Steve Rubin Photography was born. Deciding to focus on wedding photography was easy and natural for me. I’m very much a “people person” and love to interact and capture the moments as they occur. So put all these factors together and the choice to focus on wedding photography was obvious.
What is your favorite part of the wedding day to capture?
There are so many great moments during the entire wedding day. I love capturing all that energy and emotion to really tell the story. Certainly the first time the father sees his little girl in her wedding gown and you see a big, strong man break down into tears is one of those great moments that I love to capture. Another is something that I see happen during the ceremony, especially if it’s a long ceremony, where the bride and groom appear to fall into this “trance” with each other. You can see it on their faces and imagine it like a movie where for a moment, they don’t really hear the minister, they just go into their own world, just the two of them. It doesn’t always happen, but when it does, it’s a great moment to capture.
What is the most awkward moment you’ve experienced while on the job?
I was recently photographing a very small, local, intimate wedding. The bride, groom, and I had become very close as we worked together in planning out the photography for the wedding and the bridal portraits. In attendance was just immediate family from both sides. After the ceremony, the reception was in a private dining room at Flemmings, one of Raleigh’s premium steak restaurants. At a point in the reception, I borrowed the rings from the couple to take detailed shots. The bride had been dancing with her nieces and as I went back to give her back her ring I said to her “I know you’re already married, and I’m married, but will you marry me anyway” as I jokingly handed her the rings.
She had a dazed look all of a sudden in her eyes. I figured she was thinking of a good come back because all three of us would joke with each other like this all the time, but that was not the case. To make a long story short, she had a critical medical incident at that time, fell backwards away from me (so I wasn’t able to catch her) and collapsed. Being a father of child that had critical medical issues as he grew up, I am trained not to panic over this type of situation.
As her brother in law, who was a doctor, rushed over to her, I was on my cell phone with the 911 dispatcher, and ran outside waiting for EMS in the rain to guide them to exactly where we were located. This obviously ended the reception early. The couple’s entire family was from out of town and didn’t know Raleigh and weren’t sure what to do at this point. I made sure that each of them had my cell number so if they had any needs or questions they had someone local to contact. Luckily the bride recovered quickly and is doing great.
What is your favorite venue and why?
In the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill area of North Carolina where I do most of my weddings there is a great venue called Fearrington Village. It’s an old farm that has a beautiful village that’s been built around it with 5 star dining. The ambiance is wonderful and it provides a fantastic back drop for a photographer. My favorite part of this venue is the “Barn”. It’s a huge old barn that of course has been converted for weddings and other celebrations. It has this great long hall in the beginning where all the stalls were at one time, and then opens into this large open room with beautiful architecture. The grounds surrounding the barn really allow me to take my couples away from all the action for a few minutes and get them to relax, be themselves, and capture some beautiful intimate portraits of the day.
Nikon or Canon?
Canon all the way!
What is your dream location to shoot a wedding?
I’d love to shoot a wedding at the Frederiksborg Castle in Denmark. It’s located in Hillerod, a beautiful town about 40 minutes outside of Copenhagen. This is one of the largest palaces in Scandinavia and has beautiful grounds that would be a perfect backdrop for a wedding.
I absolutely love Denmark. I find the country fascinating, with all of its history, castles everywhere you turn, beautiful architecture, and most of all, its people, they are just so friendly. It’s been ranked a number of times as one of the happiest countries in the world, and it shows in the way people interact with strangers.
If you could shoot any celebrity wedding (past, present or future), who would be the lucky couple?
Everyone loves to shoot weddings where the couples are just total fun. What better celebrity wedding to shoot than George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin. George and his celebrity friends, to me, define the meaning of “fun”. I can just imagine the great images that I could capture if I was photographing their wedding.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned, and would pass along to other new wedding photographers just getting started?
Being a wedding photographer is so much more than just being a photographer. You have to have to have strong soft skills as well as both technical and artistic capabilities. Most pros will tell you the obvious. The wedding that you’re at will happen only once, and it will happen whether you’re ready or not, so you better be ready. Equipment will fail at the worst possible time, so you better have backup that you can instantly use.
Though all of the above is true, a wedding photographer must also have very strong soft skills. It’s important to understand all the family dynamics for the day. I’ve found myself sometimes being put in the middle to help ease some of these “tense” moments. Having the right “people skills”, getting people to laugh and enjoy themselves in these situations is a skill that will go a long way to help a wedding photographer be successful.
What tips or advice can you give to couples to help them on their wedding day?
I have two tips that I always give my couples. First, when putting the ring on your beloved’s finger, use your thumb and forefinger to put on the ring so that your hand is not hiding the ring. This will give your photographer the best chance to capture this beautiful moment.
Also, TAKE YOUR TIME! It’s your day, you don’t have to be in a hurry when sliding that ring on your new spouse. Make it a dramatic moment that everyone will remember.
My second tip is that if you are going to be taking formal portraits after the ceremony, then you have to find a place to hide as you leave the ceremony area. Most weddings have a tight timeline, and if the couple doesn’t hide after the ceremony, they will be swarmed by well wishers and the entire timeline will fall apart.
Do you have any questions or comments for Steve? Add them to the comments below!