My love for wedding photography stems from a mixture of things. Ever since I was a child, I was fascinated with stories. From the tales my father and grandfather told me, to the fantasy realms I created with my siblings, I was obsessed with finding out the things that separated the good stories from the great ones.
Truth be told, I was THIS close (imagine me holding up my fingers very close together, okay?) to studying English in my undergraduate career, because I had dreams of being a published fiction author. Much to my parents relief, I decided that English was far too unsteady a career to get a degree in, and instead devoted four years and more money than I am proud to admit to double major in...
Peace & Revolution Studies, and Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies. Oh, and all forms of Studio Art, specifically, you guessed it, photography. That sure showed my parents how much I valued a stable career!
This is not a dramatic way of saying I love my job, though I really, really, do. I adore all the stresses and celebrations that come along with being a business owner. I consider myself truly lucky that I am able to spend my time on this earth doing the thing that makes my heart light up the most: photographing others.
For me, photography is a very personal labor of love, and I think that love is tangible in my work. There was never a cheesy "lightbulb" moment when I picked up a camera and knew that this was my calling in life. My path to photography was initially defined by a quiet consistency. In my family, there was never a moment WITHOUT a camera. This consistency would prove to be very important later on.
I don't know who I would be without photography.
This is me. I love having my photo taken but always look so serious. Its quite the dilemma.
I am super fun, promise.
This is a much younger, (only slightly) cuter me. That is also my younger sister asleep next to me.
She still has a tendency to fall asleep when I tell her stories, so really what has changed?
I lost more than one-third of all of my memories due to a rare neurological disorder. Most of my memories from the first decade of my life are gone. Poof, vanished.
My "first" memories are of arriving right on the awkward cusp of my teenage years with hardly any memories, no true sense of self, and no idea why I was so damn lanky.
This is where the quiet consistency and presence of photographs that I mentioned earlier came into play. Suddenly I am both blissfully and painfully aware of one fact, and this fact has driven every single choice I make when photographing weddings.
In this one wild and crazy life each of us is given:
there are no ordinary moments, only one million un-ordinary moments that make up a lifetime.
There are many photographers in the world,
why choose me?
Here I am from the ages of 5-12. I have almost no memories of this time in my life, only the photos that were preserved remain, ps, I still have the camera these photos were taken with, and it is very special to me.
I used photographs to create who I am Today.
Photography is not something I do,
it is something i am
There are many photo-graphers in the world,
why choose me?
These are the moments you want to keep. The authentic, The real. Nothing says "I am here, and I am me" like a pre-wedding selfie with your girls and your mimosas!
Life is one wild, beautiful mess. Forever is an idea, not a guarantee. Yet I know that whenever my time is up, I will confidently look back at the work I have created...
these memories I have been lucky enough to keep for couples who are truly living
...and know that what I did always mattered.
In between moments such as...Me laughing on the couch with my great-uncle, who sadly passed away, and whose service I attended, though I have no memory of it. A blurry photo of my elder brother throwing me into the pool, while my sister laughs in the background. Those were the photos that helped me piece together who I was, in the wake of losing my memories.
Every picture I have taken at the 100+ weddings I have been lucky enough to have been invited to, is taken with those moments in mind.
Suddenly it was not the posed and planned family Christmas cards, where every hair is combed into place and every smile is perfect, that meant the most to me, but the moments in-between.
You certainly have more than enough on your to-do list, and finding the right photographer can feel like an incredibly daunting task. That is why I never try to "sell myself" to my clients.
Some couples truly want a simple documentation of the day, from moment A to B and then to C. and there is truly nothing wrong with that!
However, my couples (affectionately known as #TribeClayRey) tend to share the mindset that this is a day that will be remembered for the rest of your life, and these pictures will be revisited again and again over the years.
So if you too, are inspired by light, laughter, texture, movement, romance and an overall sense of wonder at the world, please reach out below and say hello.
I cannot promise:
I can promise:
that everything will go according to plan. No hiccups, no bumps, exactly like the movies.
that I will be with you every step of the way as a friend, guide, planner, and ally. If I am at your wedding, I swear to deliver incredibly real images that will live in your family for generations to come, bringing you right back to the moment where you said "I Do"
I will know that I provided a contribution that is both real and enduring.
If you decide to trust me with your memories and hire me as your wedding photographer, you should know these 2 things.
Credit: Katya Ivanovski
Here I am sitting outside at my favorite little beach, last winter.
My hands were SO cold, but the Old Fashioned in them is partially to blame for that.
It is both my job and my incredible privilege to capture all of the magical and mundane moments found during a wedding day for my couples to be cherished forever by their family.
Constantly driven by a need to explore, to leap out of my comfort zone, and to find new experiences.
Life is an adventure and I am hell-bent on enjoying it to the fullest, and I'd love if you would come along with me.
I have a deep gratitude for tangible art! As I mentioned earlier, I lost one-third of all my memories, and have only the prints and albums made from that time to connect to my younger self. No price can ever explain what these prints mean to me.
The pursuit of the unknown, and my photography have taken me to over twenty-five countries. It is hard to describe the thrill I feel touching down in an entirely new place. I love destination weddings and would be happy to travel to you!
I live on the beach, and there is something so hauntingly beautiful about the calming rage of the ocean to me. The sea is just as much a part of me as I am of it. I am ESPECIALLY drawn to shooting elopements on the beach!
Truth be told, I am a sucker for all types of whiskey. Scotch, Bourbon, Rye. Irish, Japanese, You name it, I'll probably love it. My brief time spent living in Kentucky is almost certainly to blame for this.
I am an avid reader, and can always be found with a book or two in my bag. My two favorite genres are business theory and fantasy novels. I'm eager to find a quiet minute to escape into the pages.