It’s artist feature time, one of my favorite times of the week. I love showing the work of other artists and getting insight into who they are as both people and artists.
This week’s artist feature focuses on Amelia and Dan photography, who are among my favorite wedding photographers in all of Charleston (and yes, I mean that sincerely). Amelia and Dan are a team, yet still both photographers independently. If you are looking for wedding photographers in or around Charleston then they are a great place to start.
Here’s what Amelia and Dan had to tell us about themselves and their work.
You two are each photographers in your own right, yet at the same time you are a team. What was the first job that you guys decided to do together? How did it go and when did you know this collaboration was something you wanted to continue in the future?
– We have basically worked together as long as we have known each other. We met in photography school in North Carolina, and collaborated on a number of projects during that time. After wrapping up internships around the country, we worked together at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette as staff photographers for 3 1/2 years. We helped each other edit work, floated ideas for stories back and forth, and shared an office. The first time we ever “officially” shot together was at a wedding in June 2008, and we enjoyed it so much we decided to move back to the Carolinas and do it full time. Both of us bring different things to the table and have different ways of seeing the world that work together in harmony.
You guys are widely known for your fantastic wedding photography, but you also do much more than that. Will you share with us one image each that isn’t wedding related that you feel demonstrates your other photographic interests?
– Simply put, we love all images that tell a story. Because we both come from a background in photojournalism, that is the approach we take in documenting weddings and in our personal work as well. Family is something that is hugely important to us, and we love documenting our lives together. Amelia’s photo of our niece Sanders running up the driveway at our family farm reminds us what a special place that is and the joy of spending time with the people we love most. Dan’s image from outside the Palace Bar in Dublin makes us want to hit the road together again for another great adventure.
Dan, you also teach photography to college classes. What’s one recurring thing that you find yourself telling your photography students that you would like to tell anyone else interested in getting into photography?
– Stop worrying about what camera to buy, stop worrying about Photoshop and Lightroom, just go out and make pictures of the things that are meaningful to you. That is how you’ll get better.
(Note from Steven: I cannot imagine a better answer to this question and agree wholeheartedly)
Do you find that you two naturally fall into certain photographic or business roles being a team?
– We do have distinct roles in our business that really play to our strengths. We both make pictures, but Amelia handles accounting, scheduling, communication and office morale. Dan handles image post-processing, equipment upkeep, and music selection.
If someone was wanting to get into wedding photography what piece of advice or insight would you give them that you wish you’d had when you started?
– Take a business class. Ultimately, that is what will make or break you. There are plenty of great photographers who fail for lack of business acumen and likewise plenty of average ones who succeed because they understand things like cash flow, budgeting, business licenses, payroll, etc.
Have you noticed a shift in people wanting prints of the work you do for them as digital has taken over photography? If so, how has it changed?
– Yes, and it’s not a good shift. Those digital files are just a bunch of 1s and 0s, and while you can fit thousands of them on your hard drive, they don’t do you any good there. We encourage all of our clients to print their photos, whether it’s buying prints through us, or at their local printer if they purchase the digital files with personal usages rights. You can’t hang the USB drive on your wall. There are also fewer reputable printers than there used to be, so we try to remind people that if you just dropped a few thousand dollars on a professional photographer, you may want to consider purchasing high quality prints of the images rather than taking your flash drive to the drug store down the street.
Speaking of prints, does seeing your work in print change it for you in any way relative to seeing it on computer monitors?
– While the shift to digital photography has been great for any number of reasons, it has come with the unfortunate side effect of rendering pictures temporary in a lot of ways. So many people make images, receive the immediate gratification of seeing them on the back of the camera, and then never view them again. That’s such a shame. A still image can be very powerful, but often it is something that builds over time as you revisit that moment again and again. If it is tucked away in a folder on your hard drive the chances of that happening are a lot less than if it is hanging in your kitchen.
I know you each shot film for some time. Did you learn photography on film? What impact do you think that had on your photographic career that would have been different had you learned on digital? Also, if someone was starting out in photography today would you tell them to start out with film or with a digital camera?
– We did learn on film. Our entire first year of school was medium format black and white. Ten shots and you had to purchase and process another roll. It was great because it taught you to slow down, appreciate each image, and to get it right the first time in the camera. We still shoot film on occasion, usually when we take family vacations. It’s great because the process is so different that it feels a lot more like the hobby we first fell in love with and less like work 😉 Amelia has loved using her Holga for years. Dan has a 4×5 Crown Graphic that makes him feel like Weegee and just purchased a Yashica D twin lens before our trip to Ireland last year that’s pretty sweet too, but his favorite film camera is an old Kodak from the early 1920s that belonged to his great-grandmother and still makes beautiful images. The sentimental side of us wants to suggest starting with film, but to honest with the additional cost involved it just doesn’t make a lot of sense. After the initial equipment and software costs, digital photography is ostensibly free. Digital photography is also a great learning tool, since it produces immediate results. Start there, and then move to film for a change of pace.
You have a beautiful daughter. Have you found that being photographers has led to you having tons of photos of her or has it actually had the opposite effect since you photograph other things so frequently?
– Aw, thanks! It’s funny because everyone assumes that we would have just a slew of photos of her (and we do have a bunch), but often we fall into the same trap as most folks where all you have with you is your iPhone when the moment occurs. The good news is that they actually make halfway decent images, and apps like instagram (@ameliaanddan and @corinnesdad) make it really easy to share with family and friends. If the grandparents go a week without a photo, we do get called out 😉 Amelia prepares a family photo album every year with 200 4×6 prints of our family adventures shot on film and digital SLRs. Dan puts together a photo book of his favorite instagram photos of Corinne, and everyone really loves flipping through it.
What gear do you use and does gear matter much to you?
– Just because you bought a bunch of fancy pots and pans doesn’t mean you know how to cook. Cameras and lenses are just tools. That said, we use Canon 5D mark III cameras and L series lenses. We also just picked up a Fuji XT-1 for personal use and really like it a lot too.
Speaking of gear, and this is for both of you, if you knew you had only one lens to use to shoot an entire wedding which would it be?
– Amelia – 50 1.2, Dan – 24-70 2.8
Where can people see your work and also get in touch with you if there are needing a photographer?
(these should be hyperlinked, please let me know if they are not and I can send you the urls)