LOCAL LOVES: Q & A WITH WEDDING AND LIFESTYLE PHOTOGRAPHER, MEREDITH WASHBURN
Your family at Bremer Jewelry is dedicated to helping you celebrate the best moments in life. Shining, sparkling, wearable symbols of love and joy are one obvious way to celebrate, but what about all the other elements that go into a perfect moment? In our blog series Local Loves, we spotlight some of our favorite local businesses to help you plan your perfect engagement, wedding, elopement, anniversary, date night, or “just because” moment.
Our guest today is photographer Meredith Washburn. Back in 2016, Meredith photographed the first styled shoot Bremer Jewelry participated in. We thought it would be fun to catch up with Meredith, see how her work has evolved since we first met, and let you in on her best advice for getting priceless pics of your special day.
First off, tell us a little about yourself – how did you become a wedding photographer? How/when did you first start to love photography? Is this what you dreamed of doing when you grew up?
Hi! I’m Meredith Washburn and I’ve been photographing for a little over fifteen years now (so crazy!). I’ve built a pretty diverse photography portfolio as a hybrid photographer (both digital and film) all while traveling the globe specializing in adventurous elopements, vow renewals, adventure portrait and couple sessions, and intimate weddings. I think my biggest inspiration stems from lengthy road trips chasing beautiful views and adventures with my husband (Ben) and friends.
I think I first realized I loved photography as a child when my mom began shooting film (and often let me take/develop some of my own images) and my uncle showed me all the things involving painting/drawing/computer artwork. I’m not sure I ever envisioned myself doing photography as a career (I never really envisioned the type of photography I enjoyed doing as being an attainable career goal). Growing up, the only photography careers I knew about were staged studio family portraiture and school portrait photography (neither of which I could ever envision myself doing). I have always loved more candid/lifestyle images based in the outdoors.
Surprisingly, as a child I always dreamed of being a Pediatrician (ironic as I ended up marrying a Physician), however had some trouble learning after getting hit in the head with a golf ball in high school. At that point, I found freedom in being able to express myself through pictures rather than words…everything felt so much easier that way. All through high school I took my friends on photo shoots after school and jumped headfirst into (new) digital photography and editing (so far from what it’s evolved into today: Photoshop, Lightroom, Capture One, etc.).
Still, after high school, I never imagined the type of photography I enjoyed doing as being an attainable career goal, so I ended up going to college and getting a degree in Mathematics and Education while pursuing photography more as a side-career. I taught Junior High School and High School Mathematics for a few years while also doing photography every evening/weekend. After getting married, my husband encouraged me to pursue photography more as a solo-career after seeing my work vision and seeing how much I loved everything associated with cameras/photos/film/editing/etc. (I still get really hyped just thinking about this being my job…like WHAT?!?!?!?!). SERIOUSLY THE BEST.
What are the challenges and celebrations that go along with owning your own local, small business?
Owning a small business is incredibly expensive and time consuming (I work so many hours overtime it’s a bit ridiculous…haha). With owning your own business, you wear so many different hats. I’m a one woman show from accounting, file management, social media management, web design/graphic design, scheduling, timeline planning, meetings, blogging, SEO, traveling, gallery upload/delivery, album design, print orderer/shipper, photographer/editor, client management, and SO much more. Sometimes it is completely exhausting, but I feel so overly blessed by having clients who show me so much love and grace. I honestly cannot imagine doing anything other than photography and serving my clients to the best of my ability. I have built the sweetest and most intimate relationships. Those connections and memories we’re making together are what make my soul so happy. To know that the images we create together will have a lasting legacy for generations is seriously the coolest thing I can ever imagine, and that’s worthy of celebrating!
How would you describe your style?
I think my style is diverse, yet timeless. I want my images to capture the way things really feel – from the mood of the day, personalities, wardrobe, location, weather, etc. Because I shoot such a diverse range of work, I think it’s really important to be specialized in shooting and editing in a number of different ways. I love that I am constantly learning and becoming a better photographer.
My favorite part of working with couples for adventure photography is being able to shoot and edit a job based on the location/mood/weather/wardrobe (everything gives me a very specific and direct vision). I really enjoy that this job keeps me on my toes and puts me into a number of different environments such as shooting in water, rain, on top of windy mountains, under waterfalls, camping under starlight, etc.! All of those environments have taught me new ways to photograph and new ways to think creatively — and that’s why I’m still fascinated with cameras and photography fifteen years later.
In your opinion, what elements create the perfect wedding shoot?
There are so many variables that are involved with elopements and weddings, so here are a few things that I really value when it comes to “the perfect day:”
- Trust – My couple trusts me with vision and with doing my job to the absolute best of my ability
- A good relationship with my couple – If you don’t vibe with your photographer, choose someone else!
- A timeline suitable for making beautiful images/artwork – Light is extremely important when making beautiful photography
- The way a couple plans their wedding to suit their desires to the best of their ability – If you want to say your vows on the top of a glacier, do it! If you want to have a cinnamon roll wedding cake, do it! If you want to get married jumping out of a plane – do it! If you want to set up a camp site and say your vows underneath the moonlight – do it! If you want to hike 15 miles, set up a campsite, and say your vows together at sunrise – do it! If you want to stand at the edge of a cliff and dangle your toes over the edge together – do it! If you want hold puppies instead of bouquets to promote an animal shelter – do it! BE UNIQUE, DITCH TRADITION, and MAKE YOUR DAY ABOUT ALL THE THINGS YOU BOTH LOVE! I PROMISE IT’S ALWAYS SO WORTH IT!
- Hire amazing artists/vendors (hire the people who want to love and serve you to the best of their ability…these people really know how to make your elopement/wedding day SO SPECIAL!)
- WEDDING DRESSES – YUM. I could photograph wedding dresses all. day. every. day. I LOVE THEM. If you’re going to be out in nature, I’m super into flow gowns <3. There are so many designers and gowns I’m dying to photograph!!!!!!!!! I will never ever ever get over photographing pretty dresses and couples in love!
- Leave time for you and your husband during the elopement/wedding day to ENJOY TIME TOGETHER! I’ve seen brides only get to spend 3-4 total hours with their significant other on their wedding days, and that bums me out. I love when couples get ready together, spend the day together, and soak up every single second together.
- Obviously, a sparkly ring/bling from Bremer Jewelry!!!!!
For any wedding, what is the moment you’re most excited to capture?
THE COUPLE PHOTOS!!!!!!!! FOREVER AND ALWAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!! (and also dogs…always bring your dogs!)
What questions should people be asking their wedding photographer?
I think the most important thing to know about your photographer is their style and ability to capture your day in all scenarios (all while having a positive and uplifting personality). Browse through your photographer’s blog/website/and Instagram pages — and REALLY make sure you like the way they shoot/edit an entire elopement/wedding day. I often send my couples multiple galleries of images (engagement/elopement/wedding) so that they can see the style of images I make as well as my ability to shoot and make beautiful images in ANY lighting situation.
The next important thing is to schedule a meeting, phone call, or video chat to make sure you like your photographer’s personality and can picture them basically being your third wheel for your entire elopement/wedding day! I cannot imagine a couple who doesn’t like my personality hiring me to hike/camp/and shoot an entire elopement together (that sounds miserable!). Your photographer should connect with you, feel like your bestie, and make you feel valued and loved all day long!
Obviously, we’re a little partial to shots of the couple’s rings. What goes into staging those?
I think that creative vision is different for every wedding day/couple. Sometimes there is time to stage the rings with lots of details such as pretty florals (graciously given extras by the florist is the BEST), invitations, ribbon, details from the wedding, etc. However, making styled images with rings and details can sometimes be a bit timely. It’s not always feasible at every wedding to do immaculate/staged set-ups depending on the number of hours hired.
The good news is, there is always time to make pretty pictures with the rings that showcase memories from the wedding. Using textures on floors/fabrics/flowers/etc. can often be quick ways to make pretty photos with the rings! You can also show them off even while your couple is wearing them – shoot with a longer lens for more details or get closer to the couple to focus more on the rings and details of the jewelry!
Our very first styled shoot was with you… we didn’t even know they were a thing until you invited us! How has your business evolved since we first worked with you back in 2016?
HOW COOL!!!!! Working with you for one of my very first styled shoots was incredible!!! I loved having your team help me select jewelry/pieces that would best suit the vision that I was looking to create with my images.
Every time I come into Bremer, I fall in love with so many rings and pieces of jewelry, so getting to photograph those pieces for a bridal session was a dream come true!
I think that since doing our styled shoot back in 2016, I have really pushed myself in my business to focus more heavily on what I have always loved about this career, and where I know I make the best images for my couples. I have invested a lot of time with my couples from their elopement/wedding timeline, planning, choosing venues, to travel destination mapping and planning adventures, etc. I love hiking/traveling and shooting in unique locations, with beautiful gowns/florals/creative ideas with my couples.
I think I make my best images when I have a good relationship with my couple, they trust my vision for capturing their day, and they let me in on those “special little moments” that most people only know they share together.
What’s your favorite emerging trend in the field of wedding photography?
I love that couples are choosing to design their day to include things they love rather than things to fit tradition. Couples open to untraditional intimate weddings/elopements such as Airbnb weddings/hiking or road trip elopements are super unique and exciting. I get to know my couples on such a deep level that I get to capture the most incredible moments and make the most spectacular images.
As far as bridal style, I’m really diggin’ the more boho/Moroccan style wedding decor and gowns (Rue De Seine is swoon-worthy) in addition to bridal hats and jackets (jean/biker/etc.). Dramatic floral designs are so much fun and make for epic backdrops or hanging installations. And as always… ANIMALS at weddings!
What are 5 simple things a couple can do to make their wedding day more photogenic?
- Make sure you have a beautiful ring freshly cleaned from Bremer Jewelry of course!
- Be yourselves and have trust in your photographer to capture the love you share
- Plan your wedding to the best of your ability around good lighting (from getting ready shots/location all the way through the reception – your photographer can help you with this if you’re unsure!)
- Get that epic gown you’ve always dreamed of (and stop worrying about getting it dirty… dirty wedding gowns are all the rave (or at least I think so… It means you had an epic fun day and used it to its fullest potential!)
- Have an amazing team of artists/vendors to help make your day incredible (HMU, Florists, Wedding Planner, Designer, etc.)
THANK YOU MEREDITH for spending time with us and sharing your valuable insight into celebrating and capturing life’s priceless moments!
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