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Design Aglow's Wedding Week 2015: Meet Natalie Franke

Welcome to Day 3 of Wedding Week 2015! We hope you are enjoying it and gleaning as much inspiration as we are. This morning we're getting to know Natalie of Natalie Franke Photography:

Tell us a little about yourself, where you live and how you got started in photography.
Hi, I'm Natalie Franke Hayes and I'm a Coastal Wedding Photographer based in Annapolis, Maryland. I was a teenager when I first held a camera in my hands. A simple little camera, with a kit lens attached, that opened my eyes to the beauty of photography. It was my senior year of high school, almost six years ago, when I realized that I needed to be a photographer. From that very moment, I felt this excitement and hunger to learn everything that I could about the camera. Not just how to properly expose images – but how light traveled through three-dimensional space, how we see the outside world, how the visual system works, and how images have the power to change lives.

The following summer before college, I began to second shoot for local photographers in the Chesapeake Area and applied my love of photography to the world of weddings. I then transferred from my state college to the University of Pennsylvania where I studied Visual Neuroscience and the Psychology of Seeing while finishing my Bachelors Degree. I like to say that I’m half self-taught and half formally educated – with a background in optics, psychology, philosophy, art history, and neuroscience.



How do you describe your style?
I consider my style to be a timeless and artistic blend. I love capturing the candid moments that unfold naturally throughout the day – but I also enjoy the more posed photographs that require a small bit of planning and creative thought. I’m a mix between fine art photographer and photojournalist, between creative entrepreneur and hopeless romantic.



What or who really inspires you?
I'm really inspired by young female artists + entrepreneurs who are chasing after their dreams! I absolutely adore and am constantly inspired by Teil Duncan, Lulie Wallace, Nadia Meli, Kate Ann Morris, just to name a few!



What are your top 3 tips for photographing weddings?
Oh my goodness! I feel like narrowing tips down to three is impossible when it comes to Wedding Photography, but I will try:
1) Preparation is Everything: The day before a wedding, I need to prepare myself mentally for the following wedding day. I clean all of my lenses, charge batteries, print backup copies of my questionnaire + maps, research venues even more fully, take time to look through my bride's Pinterest board to gain inspiration, and have my attire ready for the following morning. It's all of these little puzzle pieces that help to ensure I can do my job to the best of my ability! And I feel much more mentally prepared when I dedicate my entire pre-wedding day to organizing, cleaning, and checking those "to-do's" off the list!

2) Confront your Weaknesses: I was always fairly confident in my ability to photograph portraits & work with golden natural light, but for years struggled with capturing the details indoors. So rather than solely relying on my strengths, I confronted my weaknesses head on. I began studying how others styled details, tore through fashion magazines to see how they created collages of jewelry + accessories, and followed wedding + food bloggers with the same skills. I practiced shooting details on my little IKEA Tulip Table in the window light until I started to feel more confident. And the funny part is... that my weakness in styling + shooting details eventually became a strength and is one of the big reasons that my brides hire me!

3) Remember to Smile: This may seem like a silly tip, but it's something that I believe we often forget to do. Throughout a wedding day, the photographer is constantly in the guest's range of sight. During the reception, especially during toasts and dancing, your facial expression portrays exactly how you feel about a situation and a couple. I once had a second shooter who always had this very serious, almost intense, natural expression and on more than one occasion had guests jokingly ask me if it had "been a long day" or if she was "unhappy to be there" -- and it truly misrepresented the happy go lucky feeling we shared for our job! So please, remember to smile. Relax. It puts everyone at ease and you can still be professional while being happy and passionate about what you do! Smile, smile, smile!

To see more of Natalie's work, visit her at nataliefranke.com.




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