Gavin O’Neill or Paolo Roversi. For weddings I love Christian Oth.
Grand Velas Resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers
Award winning, international wedding photographer, educator and fashion junkie – Kristen Weaver specialises in a style she classifies as ‘comfortable luxury’. Since opening her photography business in 2009, she has photographed couples all over the world as they’ve said their ‘I Do’s’ and celebrate with their friends and family. Now expanding her business, she has an industrial style studio in Orlando, FL and has developed a strong associate and internship program to represent the KWP Brand. Kristen commissions a limited number of weddings each year along with working on a number advertising campaigns, model and editorial shoots.
My days are fuelled by sweet tea and Spotify, and the occasional cat nap. I write like I talk so it may not be perfectly polished, but it is perfectly genuine. My favourite tv shows are Project Runway, Downton Abbey, the Goldbergs and Rupaul’s Drag Race, which sort of sounds like a smorgasbord of ‘wtf’, but they’re all pretty much Emmy material in my opinion.
When I’m not traveling or learning (I’m a research junkie), you can find me creating secret Instagram accounts to collect inspiration or daydreaming about shooting a bridal designer’s next big collection. If I ever move out of Orlando, you can probably find me in a flat somewhere near San Francisco or a little hut on the beach in Hawaii.
I think tiny houses are ridiculously cool, but I’m just not hipster enough to live off any grid. I hate coffee and alcohol. I’m a super taster and a super picky eater (but cheese is always acceptable). My favourite book is ‘Stiff’ by Mary Roach. The only D I ever got was in Political Science because I used to skip class when the cafeteria was serving French toast for breakfast. I find it necessary to explain my emoji usage, and after 10 years of being together, Anthony told me that our relationship was “elevated” because I just watched Star Wars … and liked it.
-How did you first become interested in photography?
I can’t remember a time when I WASN’T interested in it – even as a child I would hoard old photographs of my grandparents (who were married in the 30’s). To this day, I have many of them framed and displayed throughout my house. I may have never met the people in them, but I love how I can feel like I was part of them just through the photos.
-How would you describe your style of photography?
Whether I’m shooting weddings or beauty in the studio, I like to think my style is clean and bright.
-How do you market your business?
I actively use SEO and my website as the main source of my marketing. Although I had previously had paid vendor listings, I’ve been cutting back on those as the nature of communication has been changing. Social media used to be my largest source of marketing, but they’ve recently been making it more and more difficult for artists and creators to reach their audience. I’ve also started to work backwards, re-instating old marketing techniques like email newsletters. I’ve been seeing great results with that recently!
-How do you go about building trust between you and your clients?
First, it starts with simply being consistent. My work, although it grows and changes, has stayed relatively consistent throughout the years. I also focus on client communication – I have an entire section of my website for my clients with information we’re most frequently asked. And finally, just doing what’s right. Outside of my business, I’m a vocal advocate for human rights issues and I’ve found my clients really respect that.
-What is your post-production workflow like?
Following a wedding, I have a multi-step backup process to ensure the safety of my images. Then, I’ll use PhotoMechanic to cull through the images, picking the best shots for my “highlights”. These get edited first and are the ones I’ll use to share with vendors, post sneak peeks and submit for publishing. We will do basic adjustments in Lightroom before uploading the event to our ShootProof gallery for the clients.
When I’m working on beauty projects in the studio, the workflow is considerably different. I’ll pick my favourites in Lightroom and then do full editing in Photoshop. Where I may take less than a minute on a wedding image edit, a beauty image edit can take 20 minutes or more.
-What is your dream project?
Creatively, I feel like working on beauty projects for makeup brands would be an absolute dream. There’s something so challenging about beauty photography and I feel the most inspired by those shoots. When it comes to weddings, it’s always still a dream to be invited with couples on their destination weddings. I think I’d love to photograph a wedding or elopement in Africa, Tokyo or Norway!
-How do you approach posing or directing your subject?
It’s definitely more of a natural ‘directing’ style. I encourage couples to do things that feel natural, and I love getting to see how each couple is different! It’s my job to watch and take mental notes so I know how to best showcase their love. I can never approach 2 couples in the same way, and that keeps me on my toes!
-What is your general guide when it comes to lighting?
I LOVE light! I’ll often look for the lighting I love first, and then focus on background second. Although I adore big open shade for the consistency, I also love that little break of sunlight just over the back of my subjects.
-How would you advise someone just starting out in wedding photography?
I would first recommend taking business courses! There’s a lot on the line when you’re photographing weddings – and it’s important to understand contracts, accounting, insurances, backup protocol (for equipment and files) and liabilities. I’ve seen some incredible photographers go out of business in 2 years because they couldn’t handle the business side of it. When it counts, remember you’re a business owner first.
-What was the best career advice you were ever given?
I feel like I’ve learned more from the BAD career advice I’ve gotten! Haha! I think that social media tricks us in to thinking we’re not good enough, successful enough or loved enough. I feel like there’s constant pressure to ‘show up’ every single day – and sometimes you have to realise it’s ok to have a non-cultivated instagram feed, or to not be politically correct 24 hours a day. Just be the best self you can that day and the rest will fall in to place!