This week on our Friday Introduction series, we are introducing you all to Abby Grace Photography! On top of being a lovely person, she has amazing advice for wedding-planning couples, and a few great stories for everyone!
The Dandelion Patch: What are the most important things a couple can tell you about their wedding vision?
Abby Grace: My favorite thing to hear from a new couple when describing their wedding day is “honestly, I’m just so excited to MARRY him/her!” The details are lovely and the venue matters, and I’d love to know what flowers they’re considering, but the biggest qualifier for me is a couple who’s most excited about their marriage. Because to me, that signifies that their priority is always going to be each other, which is the one thing that’s still standing when the music fades and the flowers wilt. Their marriage is what lasts, and I LOVE working with couples who put that first!
Now I do love a gorgeous wedding as much as any girl, so when it comes to the material details of the wedding day, the biggest indicators are 1) their venue, 2) their wedding planner, and 3) their floral designer. Knowing those three components usually gives me a good feel for the vibe and atmosphere they’re hoping to achieve on their wedding day!
The Dandelion Patch: What is the one thing you wish couples knew when booking a wedding photographer?
Abby Grace: It’s only once in a while that I come upon it, but every so often I’ll meet with a couple who doesn’t initially understand that great wedding photographs require adequate time. Trying to cram family formals, bridal party pictures, and bride + groom portraits into a 20 minute window makes it really, really difficult to capture the authentic, intimate, joy-filled images that I’ve become known for. The less time I have on the wedding day, the more stressful it’s going to be for everyone involved, and anxiety doesn’t lend itself to beautiful, relaxed images! But it’s never completely normal for couples not to know this, since they’ve never planned a wedding before- it’s for that exact reason that I actually start the timeline discussion at our very first meeting!
The Dandelion Patch: How did you get started shooting weddings? Do you have a favorite memory from shooting a wedding?
Abby Grace: I love this question! I was a junior in college and needed to fulfill my fine art credit (because somehow, being a music major for a year doesn’t do that?), so I opted to take introductory dark room photography. As cliche as it sounds, I fell comPLETEly in love! I voluntarily spent hours and hours in the dark room developing my own film, completely smitten with the way an image bloomed to life on a previously blank piece of paper.
A few months after that class, I realized I really liked stalking people’s wedding photos on Facebook, and thought ” you know, I should combine these two loves.” So I reached out to a few local photographers to ask how they got started, and the one photographer who responded ended up taking me on as an apprentice for a year! After that first year, I began shooting weddings on my own, and the rest fell into place from there. And I use the term “fell into pace” loosely- it took (and still takes) a lot of hard work, but it’s been so worth it!
A favorite memory from shooting a wedding: I photographed an elopement in Manhattan last December and myself, my second shooter, and one additional friend of the couple were the only people who knew about it- the bride & groom were planning to surprise their family & friends during an engagement party a month later, so we knew we’d have to keep the secret for a full 30 days. I remember standing there on the High Line in Chelsea as they said their vows to one another, photographing the bride’s sweet tears as she promised forever and it occurred to me how very much of an honor it was to be there, trusted with this couple’s precious memories. Trusted with the task of keeping their secret too! As a photographer, we’re often there for the intimate parts of a wedding day that even their bridal party doesn’t get to witness, and that elopement in New York taught me anew to appreciate the weight of the task with which I’m entrusted.
The Dandelion Patch: What are your thoughts on first look photos?
Abby Grace: I LOVE THEM. We didn’t do one at our wedding, but if I were to do it all over again, I would push for it! That moment, when the groom first lays eyes on his bride, it’s one she’s been dreaming about for months, possible years. And not everyone wants to share that moment with 150+ other pairs of eyes, so the first look is the best way to preserve the intimacy of that moment without the pressure of all your friends and damily watching to see if the groom sheds a tear!
The Dandelion Patch: What shots do you think are the most important? Are there any major shots that couples often forget to put on their shot list?
Abby Grace: I think a wedding day is comprised of dozens of “most important” shots- the first look, her walk down the aisle, exchanging of the vows, etc. But for me, the most significant shots are the ones you really have to look for, the ones you have to anticipate- the sweet exchange of a bride and her grandmother as they see each other for the first time that day, mom looking on as a bride’s big sister gives a toast during dinner, a groom standing back and staring in awe at his bride as I guide her through a few bridal portraits. Those are my favorites because THOSE are the powerful photos that bring you back to exactly how you felt in that moment!
The Dandelion Patch: Please provide us with a fun fact about yourself!
Abby Grace: I’m a big Harry Potter nerd and could absolutely school you in HP SceneIt, and my husband and I are currently trying our hand at beekeeping 🙂
Thank you so much to Abby Grace for letting us feature her and answering our burning questions! (and we are accepting your Harry Potter SceneIt challenge..!)
We hope everyone enjoyed hearing from her as much as we did!
Keep following us on Pinterest and Instagram @TheDandelionPatch and visit Abby’s Instagram @abbygracephoto
All photos provided by Abby Grace Photography