Today’s wedding photographer interview is with Emily of Emily Chappell Photography, based in Dallas, Texas! Enjoy:
Tell us a bit about yourself and your company.
Hi there! I am Emily Chappell, a Dallas wedding photographer, wife, and mommy to two little ones (a little girl named Austyn and a baby boy named Lincoln). I have been photographing weddings for four years across the United States and love what I do. I invest a lot of myself personally into my work because I operate my business from a place of love and vulnerability. Connecting with couples is essential; documenting their special day is an honor that I never take lightly!
Read the full interview after the cut!
How did you get into wedding photography?
In a previous life, I worked a corporate 9-5 job but always had a creative streak that was itching to get out! When I went on maternity leave after the birth of my daughter, I started taking photos daily to keep up with how fast she was growing right before my very eyes! I discovered that I had a true knack for photography and kept practicing and learning. I didn’t get into wedding photography until a year later. It all began with a Craigslist ad (I know – crazy, but we all start somewhere, right?!) and a bride who loved my style. I fell in love with wedding photography right then and there, and began specializing wedding photography moving forward!
What is your favorite part of the wedding day to capture?
I know everyone says this, but portraits and details are probably my favorite part of the wedding day to capture! I love being able to take my time photographing the bride and groom in honest, authentic, and romantic moments. That one-on-one time is just golden! And detail photos are so much fun because I often treat them as a way to get “in the zone” right as I arrive to begin the wedding day photography! Not only that, but it also makes me super giddy to know that I’m capturing the hard work and planning of the couple, their families, and the vendor team, as well!
What is the most awkward moment you’ve experienced while on the job?
Oh gosh, this one is totally on me! At one of my very first engagement sessions, I took my couple to a tree farm and had them sitting on a quilt for some cozy photos. I took a few steps back and laid on my stomach to get on their level and began shooting away. Before I knew it, my entire lower half was itching like mad, and I couldn’t ignore it – it was then that I realized I had ANTS IN MY PANTS from a live ant mound I was laying in! Can you believe it?! I tried to play it cool as I stood up and started doing a downplayed version of the “ants dance” but I looked utterly ridiculous. I didn’t actually explain to the couple what had happened until I met them for a venue walk months later, and boy did we have a good laugh about it! Now I use the story to help break the ice with my engaged couples!
What is your favorite venue and why?
This is such a tough question because Dallas is home to some amazing wedding venues! I’ll go with two very different locations, just because I love them both for different reasons! The Perot Museum in Dallas is a super unique space with modern architecture, tons of room, and surprisingly is a blank slate for brides and grooms to be able to transform it into the celebration of their dreams. As a bonus, the dinosaur bones, gemstones, and other exhibits provide an awesome experience for guests. Lots of people don’t even know that you can rent The Perot Museum for weddings and events! My second favorite is La Cour Venue in McKinney because although it’s out in rural McKinney (far North Dallas), it is very different from other “rustic” venues. The owners created it to resemble the streets of New Orleans, which you can definitely see in the architecture, the brick, and the old world appointments. Plus, there’s lots of surrounding land for those romantic “outdoorsy” photos that couples love.
Nikon or Canon?
Nikon – but zero “hate” for Canon! My first camera was a Nikon, so I just stuck with that!
What is your dream location to shoot a wedding?
Paris! My husband and I were engaged in Paris at Pont Des Arts, so the city really holds special meaning for me.
If you could shoot any celebrity wedding (past, present or future), who would be the lucky couple?
That’s easy – Lauren Conrad’s wedding in Santa Ynez, California, because she’s absolutely gorgeous and I love her style!
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned, and would pass along to other new wedding photographers just getting started?
“Mind your own business” – this has become my mantra! I absolutely don’t mean this in a rude way, but in the sincerest way possible. Focus on building and growing your own business, not on what other people are doing or saying. You know your business and clientele better than anyone else, so although you can absolutely incorporate the wisdom and experience of others, you ultimately know what’s best! Not only that but don’t let yourself become sidetracked by other successful photographers out there. It’s easy to see others killing it in business and start to wonder if you should do what they are doing. The thing is, what works for one person won’t necessarily work for you. Stay focused, stay motivated, and stay the course!
What tips or advice can you give to couples who are looking to hire a photographer to cover their big day?
My biggest piece of advice for couples is to hire based on a photographer’s work and personality. I understand that budget is a big factor, but it shouldn’t be the deciding factor when hiring a wedding photographer. You want someone whose work you love, and with whom you easily “click.” After all, a wedding photographer will probably spend the most time with you on your wedding day – they are like a bridesmaid with a camera instead of a bouquet! Choose wisely!
Thanks Emily! For more informaiton about Emily Chappell Photography, please visit her WeddingLovely Vendor Guide profile.
Do you have any questions or comments for Emily? Add them to the comments below!