Picture Yourself in Love
Please introduce yourself to our readers.
My name is Anna, I am a Fine Art Wedding and brand photographer based in Portland Oregon. I have been running Anna Caitlin Photography full time for the past 5 years and focusing on weddings for the past 4. I am a self-taught photographer and have had a camera in my hand since I was 12. I have been featured in many publications such as Oregon Bride, Wed venture Magazine and 100-layer cake. This last year I was named one of CLICK magazine's Top 20 Women Changing Photography. I also teach over at the Unraveled Academy as well as several online and local workshops.
How did you become a wedding photographer?
Weddings are a day when everyone is looking gorgeous, they are all happy and excited, the food and venue are beautiful and love is thick in the air. It is such a happy time in a person's life and it is an absolute blast to capture that day for a couple.
After my first year of business, I realized I needed to figure out what I loved to photograph best and focus on it. Photography is such a broad trade and there are so many genres within it, I found myself trying to do too much and not progressing enough in any one area. So I started to observe what kind of shoots made me the happiest and I came to the conclusion that I absolutely loved to photograph people in love. This was the epiphany that started me down the wedding photography path. And I have loved it ever since. Weddings are a day when everyone is looking gorgeous, they are all happy and excited, the food and venue are beautiful and love is thick in the air. It is such a happy time in a person's life and it is an absolute blast to capture that day for a couple.
How would you describe your style?
I describe my style as part Fine Art, part Documentary and a dash of Wes Anderson.
- I say part Fine Art because I love to create art out of life's moments. I do not like to simply point and shoot and document an event. That is what iPhones are for. I like to bring an artistic eye to a moment and capture life in a poetic way.
- I also say it's part documentary because I really do like to let moments maintain their authenticity. I do not like to fabricate emotions or moments, but rather help facilitate authentically fun and moving moments and capture the emotive scenes that are created from them. I feel very strongly about not trying to change the true narrative of a story in order to get the perfect shot. Authenticity comes first and creativity comes second.
- I say a dash of Wes Anderson because my work is heavily influenced by cinema and most specifically Wes Anderson. I love to incorporate some of the quirky undertones of Wes Anderson and create images that feel like stills from a timeless movie.
What are the most common questions that couples ask you at the first introductory appointment?
Most couples ask me my approach to capturing such a big day. I tell them that I like to be involved and get to know everyone (close friends and family) so that I everyone is loose and comfortable as I capture them. However, I love to stand back during really intimate moments such as the ceremony and use longer lenses to get the shots I need so as not to disrupt and distract from the beautiful energy of the moment.
I always give couples examples of how their day could play out based on the info they have given me so far and give them an idea of when the lighting is best for couple portraits, etc. This is something that couples really like, as it gives them a template to build on.
How much should a couple expect to pay for a wedding photographer?
There really is no right answer to this question. A couple should decide together what sort of photography they want to have at their wedding and how much of a priority it is to them. Most clients understand that to have their day captured in a beautiful and loving way will be a gift to them for years to come and they are interested in securing a photographer that can deliver that. Wedding photographers carry a lot of weight. they have one shot to capture everything perfectly and a lot of pressure riding on it turning out well. They also spend way more time in correspondence with the couple and way more time editing afterwards, than a normal portrait session. To have an artist working nonstop for 8 hours, creating original and personal content the whole time, is a special thing. When you think about it this way it makes sense why wedding photography costs what it does.
I would say for a really solid wedding photography experience a couple would want to spend between $3,000 - $6,000.
Where and how do you find a good wedding photographer?
Most of my clients find me from word of mouth or on Instagram.
What is the role of a photographer at a wedding?
I think it is also the photographer's job to know when to go in and capture the shot/be a director and when to step back and not distract from the authenticity of the moment.
I find myself playing many roles at a wedding. I am a hired artist, whose job it is to create an art piece out of the entire day and all the moments inside of it. I am also a historian, looking at the day as a whole and documenting/recording the experience so it can live on. I find myself playing wedding planner a lot. And I find myself playing consultant to the bride and groom a lot too (like how to cut the cake, where to have their first dance, how to throw the bouquet, etc..). I think it is also the photographer's job to know when to go in and capture the shot/be a director and when to step back and not distract from the authenticity of the moment.
Which portion of the process keeps you busy the most, and what takes the most energy?
Editing/culling can take quite a while since I usually take around 4000 - 5000 images per wedding. Especially when I have many weddings in one month.
On a wedding day, I am usually running around the entire time. Scouting out locations, making sure moments are being captured and prepping for what 's next... Except during the vows and the toasts. I do not like to detract from these moments with the sound of tons of clicking so I get the shots I need and then just enjoy the sweetness of what is being said. I usually cry during the toasts! I love them!
If you could ask one thing of the grooms and brides that would make your job at their wedding easier, what would it be?
I love when the bride and groom allot plenty of time for the couple portraits. This is my favorite part to capture and I love when we have enough time to really make them wonderful. Especially allotting 15 minutes to snag some couples shots at sunset, I love those!
I also love when a couple has a designated person to wrangle all the family for family portraits. It makes that whole part of the day SO much easier.
Was there ever a time you had to improvise?
Being a wedding photographer means being quick on your feet and not getting frazzled easily.
Every single wedding. Haha. I have forgotten my strap, had grooms show up 2 hours late, had my second shooter right in my way during the first kiss, etc....Being a wedding photographer means being quick on your feet and not getting frazzled easily.