Friday, February 6, 2009

West Park Photography

Duo Lynn Bernardi and Andy Schwartz have been involved in photography for over ten years, and met through their love for vespa scooters. They've joined forces to form West Park Photography in Grosse Pointe Park and I had the wonderful pleasure of learning more about them and their amazing talent!

What is your favorite part of living in Michigan?

Andy: I have lived literally all around this country. My family brought me here, but Michigan is the first place that has felt like home to me. I could do without the weather, as I'm not a winter person, but the people I've met and connected to, the places we go to and experience, all make Michigan an incredible, and diverse place to hang my hat.

Lynn: The seasons, the beauty, and our lakes. I had the opportunity to live in Florida for about 18 months and it was my first taste of living somewhere outside of Michigan. While the weather there is glorious (once you become accustomed to the humidity) I really missed the changing of the seasons. (And yes, at times I even missed winter - a malady I am completely over with as of right now. I'm ready for spring!) Honestly though, I have always loved Michigan, I can't imagine not living somewhere where lake views are a short car drive away. And I love going up north were the air just smells different - fresh, clean, and pine scented. Florida does not smell like that.

What sparked your love for wedding photography?

Andy: I love capturing raw emotion... that shining glance...the hidden smirk..the shy tear in the eye...the moments often missed. I get that in wedding photography. And falling in love while discovering it helped out too.

Lynn: Full disclosure - I never thought I would do wedding photography! When I first started taking pictures years ago, I considered it for about half a second before I reminded myself that I'm not a girly-girl, and that shooting a wedding was far too much pressure and stress. I thought wedding photographers were crazy...and yes, I'll admit it, I didn't think wedding photography could be interesting, or artistic. Then, as it always happens, a good friend's sister asked me to shoot her wedding. And I started poring over wedding photography websites, and realized how much things had changed in the last 10 years. I realized the days of cookie cutter posed formals were over and new photographers were bringing originality and creativity into wedding photography.

After shooting my first wedding, I was hooked. The days before it, I was more stressed out that the bride, I am sure of it. (Just ask Andy - I was unbearable to live with!) But the day of, it was golden. It was fun, easy, and I loved every moment. I've always been interested in photojournalism, and shooting a wedding is just like eye candy to a photojournalist. There's so much activity, so many emotions, ritual, ceremony, celebration. It's all there, and it's wonderful. It's a joy to witness and capture. I immediately knew this was the job for me.

Andy and I met not long before we shot our first wedding. Being able to share our experiences as we meet great couples and shoot these terrific events has only deepened our own commitment to each other. I love that we can share this part of our lives with each other. So yes, falling in love while we embarked on this business did definitely help! :)

What piece of advice would you give couple's when choosing their photographer?

Andy: Your wedding day will fly by so fast with all the emotion and joy taking the helm. The photographer's job is not only to capture the bride and groom and family in these glorious moments, but also to capture the details, the guests, the laughter, the tears and so on. These are the moments which if not documented, do get lost in the day. Yet it is these moments that really make the day special and unique. Your photography is the one thing that will always remind you of those moments. Look for a photographer that captivates you with emotion through their work. A photographer that you connect with both in person and through their images.

Lynn: Find someone you trust, someone who absolutely gets you and your goals for the day. It will be a long, wonderful day, and your photographer(s) will be a constant presence. It makes things so much easier if it's a person you like & are comfortable with.

Practically speaking, I urge anyone who's looking for a wedding photographer to hire a professional. Your wedding is too important to leave to someone without experience. Wedding photographers are skilled with making fast adjustments, working with rapidly changing light, and knowing when to capture that decisive moment. Affordable dSLRs have made digital photography an easy hobby to get into, but wedding photographers have specific skill sets and equipment that are essential for consistently taking great photographs all day long, no matter what the circumstances.

What is your favorite wedding day moment to capture?

Andy: My favorite moment to shoot is that amazing moment after they are pronounced husband and wife, no longer just bride and groom, where they are relieved and excited, and so emotional. Sometimes it is a glance, a second kiss, a cheer, or sometimes it is the proud first step forward down the aisle. The feeling of's done and it's just a new beginning all at once.

Lynn: I don't think there is a specific part of the day, but it's those fleeting moments of raw emotion that really get me. And I think those are the moments our clients most appreciate us capturing, because for them, the day goes by in a whirlwind and they are completely swept up and sometimes don't really see what's going on. I think - or at least I hope - when people look at our portfolio, they can see that our style is characterized by the emotion we document.

No comments: