Fast forward to today and I still don’t see myself as a wedding photographer in the traditional sense of the word; more as just a guy who has a passion for art and loves family. I love that I get to be part of such an exciting, emotional and joyful day for the bride and groom and their friends and family. I feel honoured to be brought into the inner circle of a very intimate and personal time in someone’s life and documenting that day for them. From a social aspect, I really enjoy the interaction with everyone on the day, but I do tend to counterbalance that with not being too imposing or intrusive; I’m not really interested in injecting myself into the proceedings and directing someone’s wedding day to conform to an idealised idea I might have of how it should all look. For me, it’s all about getting at the soul of the bride and groom, capturing the moments honestly and truthfully, yet in an aesthetically pleasing and artistic way.
Firstly, I am really driven to document moments rather than stage them. My background studying Fine Art in Europe has instilled in me an approach founded primarily on a documentary or photojournalistic approach. I truly believe that every couple is different and every wedding has its own unique character and spirit. My job is to capture that character in an artistic way so that, when you look back at your photos with your kids and grandkids in the years to come, the soul of your wedding day shines through in every image. As such, if you’re looking for someone to replicate the tired, clichéd images of the kind of soulless weddings you see on Pinterest and in wedding blogs, I’m probably not the photographer for you. That’s probably the worst sales pitch ever for a lot of future brides, but I’m just being honest! I’ll definitely take the time to get photos of your flowers and all the little details you have worked so hard on, but, for me, the focus is on the human relationships first and foremost.
Hi, I’m Joe and I’m a Raleigh wedding photographer & portrait photographer specialising in a combination of documentary-style photojournalism and fine art portraiture. Thanks for stopping by my site and having a look around. Hopefully, you’re reading this as you like what you’ve seen in my wedding photography galleries. If so, you obviously have amazing taste!
If you’d told me even 13 years ago that I would be working full time as a professional wedding photographer, I would have thought you were crazy. I’ve always had an interest in the visual arts and studied History of Art and Cinema at university back home in England. But once I graduated and got a corporate job, my sole focus became studying for my MBA and building my successful career as a sales director. It was all I really cared about.
But, then, my outlook on life suddenly changed and my priorities took a total 180. The catalyst for this was when my wife and I learnt we were expecting our first child. I immediately got the urge to buy a “proper” camera to document our journey from newlyweds into parenthood. I then immersed myself in learning the art of photography and shared my images on social media. Friends saw my photos and asked me to take pictures for them: families, babies and, then, my first wedding which I shot the day before my first daughter was born.
Those two days changed my life forever.
Secondly, a lot of the people who choose me tend to feel uncomfortable in front of the camera. This is totally OK with me, because I feel 100% the same way! The way I work is primarily to just stay in the background, listen and watch. I concentrate and observe in order to anticipate the moments as they unfold and capture them with the best light and compositional elements possible. People tend to forget I’m even there, which lets me capture the authentic moments that really count.
Portraiture & Photojournalism
Finally, for the parts of the day when we will be taking portraits, the emphasis is on you guys just being yourselves rather than posing for the camera. I started out as a wedding photojournalist with a very purist approach: very little, if any, direction of the day and just a few portraits of the bride and groom as needed. Over the years, I have developed a love and a skillset for the creative process behind portrait photography and I work hard to help you get the very best photos of you and the people you love. I still see myself primarily as a photojournalist in that I strive to capture the wedding day as it unfolds without directing too much, but my clients also value the artistic portraiture we can create together whilst staying true to the individual personalities of each bride & groom.
Looking back through my testimonials the words my clients use most often are "natural", "artistic" and "real". Those three words incapsulate my approach to wedding photography.
Thanks to Steve Jamroz for the photos of me in action on a wedding day.
Some other random stuff you might like to know:
* I grew up in England so, to me, you guys all talk funny. This also explains all the apparent typos on my site – you guys write English funny too. ;)
* I have an MBA from Butler University in Indianapolis. In a former life, I worked in publishing sales and marketing, which paid good money but was pretty soul destroying. My heart wasn't in it. I gave all that up to dedicate myself to following my passion: photographing people and their relationships with each other.
* I spent 8 years living in Barcelona and Valencia, Spain and my wife is Panamanian. So I speak fluent Spanish and Catalan. I can get by in Portuguese and French too. This can come in really handy when your guests come in from overseas or I need to swear in front of my kids.
* My first real job was selling tractors to Spanish farmers. Yeah, it was as glamorous as it sounds. I then spent 15 years or so in the corporate world working in media sales, marketing and communications, so the experience in album design and layout comes from there.
* For my photography, I’ve won a few awards over the last few years. I won’t bore you with the details here, but I guess it means I’m OK at what I do.
* If you’re interested in reading what my clients think of me, I put all the good reviews here and here. All the bad ones are hidden away on a MySpace page under a false name.
* When it comes to photography, my influences are people like Henri Cartier-Bresson, Anton Corbijn, Robert Frank, Richard Avedon and Don McCullin. If that means anything to you, then you should definitely give me a call.
* If you're interested in what gear I use (or used to use), you probably shouldn't be, but you're obviously a photographer and lens geek too. If that's you, check out this page.
* My wife and kids are my life and my inspiration. They are the reason I do what I do. Incidentally, my wife, Cristel, is also a pretty talented Raleigh Newborn Photographer. You can check out her beautiful baby and newborn work here.
* This is probably very boring and long-winded, but you're still here.
* Yes, I am definitely in dire need of a copy editor.
* If you made it down this far, you either have way too much time on your hands or you really should get in touch.
Thanks for reading my spiel! Hope to speak with you soon!
Family photo courtesy of my good friend and constant source of inspiration: Asheville portrait photographer and educator Parker J Pfister.