Hi! I'm Kristen Weaver! I truly can't remember a time when I wasn't taking pictures. I remember begging my mom to take my little 35mm film rolls to get developed and I'd create albums of random horrible captures from middle school. Thankfully my technique improved and I made it more of a hobby in college - starting a mini photography business for my sorority sisters during my senior year. It eventually turned in to my full time profession in 2009 after getting laid off from my marketing job.
I definitely specialize in weddings, but I really love being part of my couples' journeys as they grow together. I like to compare it to Taylor Swift - and although I don't have a hoard of Grammy's, I love how her music evolves with each album. She may lose some fans, she may gain some fans; but in the end - she stays true to where she currently is in her life and her music is a perfect representation of that. I like to think that as I've grown, so has my style and work.
Storytime: following my mini photography business in college, I decided to apply as an assistant for a wedding photography company. After a while, I swore I would never shoot another wedding as long as I lived. I'm grateful for my lack of clarity at that moment - because when a close friend of mine asked me to photograph her wedding, I agreed. I loved every part of that day - spending it with one of my closest friends, sharing more of that day with her than anyone else, and also being able to be creatively open and in control, I knew that was the way I needed to experience photography. I aim to spend every wedding day exactly as I remember that one - so I'm often the most connected to my couples who allow me to get intimately familiar with their relationship!
Starting out in the wedding industry
Learn the business. Chances are, you're creative enough and talented enough to be there, but I've seen some incredibly talented photographers go out of business so quickly because they don't understand the business of this industry. You have to WANT to be a business owner. If that's not you - join a team where you can be an associate and be a photographer because you love it. As a business owner, the majority of my time is spent dealing with things like contracts, advertising/marketing, running my studio, employees, payroll, insurance, taxes, etc etc. If you've already checked out just from reading that... chances are you're not ready to be a business owner.
I started a studio photography brand where I only focus on shooting beauty work (models from agencies, fashion and pageant girls). My summer (slow season in Florida) keeps me shooting in the studio almost daily and it's amazing to keep my creative juices flowing. I love the collaboration with makeup artists and seeing a concept come to life.
During a busy wedding season, I'm usually in overdrive spending extra hours at the studio - so the easiest way for me to stay balanced is with date-nights with my husband and long baths while I'm answering emails.
Being a wedding photographer
Truth be told, I'm still anxious before every single wedding day. It really takes until I get to the bride's suite before I shake those feelings. The day typically goes by so quickly - it's a huge blur for me sometimes! My favorite part of the process is really sitting down to review all my images. Getting to relive the day and see the photos always makes me so happy and excited to share them with the couple! Living life behind a viewfinder can make moments feel a little fuzzy sometimes - so looking back on the day through my photographs puts all those moments back into perspective. I see a picture and I can remember every little part of capturing it - from the veil blowing, to the faint sound of an airplane overhead and that slight inhale just before they kiss.
Photos just trigger these memories for me - and my blog is like my own little diary for me to keep them in.
Success with sales
I set high expectations by showing them high quality products. My clients are always impressed with the little things I do to make their physical products look as amazing as their photos. I've always believed in spending money to make money - and I started out a long time ago investing in the best quality photography products I could find. My favorite Design Aglow products are the white print boxes stamped in silver foil with my logo, custom engraved USBs and welcome packets.
What I wish I had known
That I will never be satisfied. No matter what I do, I want to do more. Any achievement I accomplish will likely never be enough. I think it's just my personality, but I've learned to accept that. In the beginning, I would say 'Oh, I'll be content when my business reaches this specific income', and then I would reach that point, and it just made me set the goal higher. I couldn't figure out why I was never happy - and it's because I didn't have my own definition of success. I still don't... but at least I feel a little closer to understanding what "being successful" means. I'm a constant work in progress, and I'm OK with that!
I’m a digital and film hybrid photographer based in Oviedo, FL. So while I mainly shoot digital, I also shoot medium format film throughout the day! I love the soft romantic style of film photography, and I also try to capture that while maintaining my love for bold colors and tones! I’m also a sucker for love – and just adore everything about couples on their wedding days! I love the details, the candid moments, the tears and the laughter that comes with the day! Watching families come together and grow – it’s such an amazing experience for me. Since my background comes from the world of fashion photography, I like to incorporate some of that into a wedding day! My posing style is a bit more like “direction” – and I used that to encourage the most natural and organic moments between the 2 of you.
And for a little bit of personal information about me… I’m a big fan of reality tv and Taylor Swift, and makeup. A lot of Sephora runs and YouTube reviews are my jam. Which is weird, because I rarely wear makeup unless I’m going out! I’ve been with my husband for 13 years and he loves bad jokes and Star Wars (I actually just watched Star Wars for the first time and now I’m drinking the Kool-Aid). I have 5 cats (yes, seriously) and hate going to the gym. I also love parentheses. And I’m terrified of wet paper. That’s basically me in a nutshell!
See more of Kristen's work at www.kristenweaver.com and follow her on Instagram too.