Today’s photographer interview is with Nicole Cross of 43rd. Ave. Photography, based in San Francisco, California! Enjoy:
Tell us a bit about yourself and your company.
My name is Nicole Cross and I’m the owner and lead photographer of 43rd Ave. Photography in the San Francisco Bay Area. We specialize in documentary wedding and family photography.
Read the full interview after the cut!
Shortly after graduating from college with a photojournalism degree, a friend asked me to help her photograph a wedding for a friend of a friend. I went into it not really knowing what to expect and left full of curiosity. I became more and more interested in the creative and non-traditional wedding photography I was finding on blogs. Over the following years I picked up second shooting gigs as well as weddings of my own. Things started to pick up and last year in March I was able to leave my office job and take on photography full-time.
I love photographing the first dance. It’s so sweet, everything has usually calmed down by then and everyone is totally beaming, the couple and their proud families and happy friends. Similarly, I also love the minute or two after the ceremony when the couple breathes a sigh of relief as they walk off and can’t stop smiling.
It’s always awkward when people ask you to make them look 20 pounds lighter.
What is your favorite venue and why?
I love Piedmont Community Hall in Oakland and Mountain Terrace in Woodside, both have a great mix of outdoor and indoor space and lots of beautiful trees. I have also been lucky enough to work weddings at lots of beautiful private properties and parks.
What is your dream location to shoot a wedding?
I love big trees and would be happy to shoot more outdoorsy weddings. If you’re having a wedding in the woods somewhere I’d love to connect!
I’m not particularly interested in photographing celebrities. I’m much more interested in showing the average person the photogenic side of themselves they never knew they had.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned, and would pass along to other new wedding photographers just getting started?
The first few weddings that you shadow another photographer don’t get too caught up in the pictures you’re taking. You’ll learn a lot more by watching the experienced photographer shoot and noticing how they interact with the couple and guests.
Be nice to everyone you meet. Be calm, there’s enough jitters around. Don’t forget there’s other people to photograph, the couple will want to see pictures of their family and friends enjoying themselves too.
What tips or advice can you give to couples who are looking to hire a photographer to cover their big day?
There are so many photographers out there, I know it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Definitely take the time to talk potential photographers on the phone and meet with them in person if you are really interested in booking them. If you like the work you see and they are in your budget, the next most important thing is to make sure you get along well. As photographers, we often spend more time with the couple than anyone else. So make sure you find someone who matches the vibe you’re looking for whether that be friendly or serious, hands-off or highly involved.
Do you have any questions or comments for Nicole? Add them to the comments below!