Elissa and Shaul were married August 5, 2012 at Claxton Farm near Asheville, North Carolina. There was something about Elissa’s voice when she called from Israel back in February. That’s right, she came from Israel to get married in North Carolina. She sounded laid-back, fun and relaxed. She was not the cookie-cutter bride and Shaul wasn’t the typical groom and that made our collaboration a breath of fresh air. We had never met, but had been looking forward to their wedding all year.
I am glad we aren’t strangers anymore.
The best feeling is when brides hire me for what I do and not for what The Knot tells them their wedding photographer should be doing. Brides and photographers can have so much more fun this way, considering that we spend more time together on the wedding day than they do with their husbands! Most importantly, the couple will receive a better product in the end too. I have really enjoyed the Jewish weddings I have photographed this year. They are always deep with symbolism and a focus on family and friends. The attachment to such a beautiful heritage, language and culture makes each one a visual feast, full of high emotion and energized dancing.
Here is a short Q+A with the couple:
1. What made your wedding story interesting to me right off the bat is that you originally called me from Israel when you were looking for a photographer. You could have picked a photographer from anywhere, what made you decide to pick me? What set my work apart?
We were looking at photographers all over the US, and got interested in wedding photographers with a background in photojournalism. Channing Johnson, who shot a friend of a friend’s wedding that we really liked, recommended you and a few other NC photographers. We just fell in love with your work after MUCH research on wedding photographers in all of NC. What really set your work apart to me (the bride) is how your photographs seem to tell the story of the wedding day as it was and not a mere projection of what you, the photographer, see in the wedding day. After looking at so many wedding pictures, it seems that many photographers fall into a mold of what to photograph during the day, and they go through the motions of how each event should be photographed according to what they have found to be successful in the past. But your pictures seem to be about the unique truth and meaning in each wedding day you photograph, and less so about what you as photographer have seen in the past or your personal interpretations of the events. This quality shows through very much in your photography, and we appreciated it very much.
2. After working with me and seeing the results, what in your mind made it the right choice for us to collaborate?
You are punctual and professional, yet laid back. We wanted a photographer that would be ‘on the side’ and focusing on candid shots most of the time instead of posed and planned cookie-cutter wedding photography. This fit in very well with your intentions and work style. We are happy that you caught all the moments that were important to us, you did your research beforehand, you were fully prepared, enthusiastic, and caring about our wedding day.
3. What was your favorite moment that I captured?
We would have to say that other than all the obvious wonderful moments (the kiss picture, wow!, the huppa blessings, ketuba signing, first dance, etc), we really enjoyed seeing the pictures of Shaul’s nephew Yoni. There were a few that captured the way he is so well, where everyone is standing around smiling and laughing and he is staring straight into the camera, or off by himself… Also, the photo choices in the facebook album you made were all wonderful too.
4. What is the first thing you want to do with the images?
I want to sit with our families and look through all of them together! Then maybe make a facebook album for everyone to see.
5. For all the brides out there, what advice do you have for them in planning a wedding that involves so many friends and family traveling from overseas?
DELEGATE responsibilities!! I realized about a week before the wedding that so much more is possible when you don’t take all the responsibilities on yourself and the groom. There are many many people around you waiting to help, and as long as you have lists of what needs to be done, and people who are willing to help, you’ll be fine. Whether it’s picking people up from the airport, telling people where to travel or go out to eat, helping with flight arrangements, translating from language to language, making payments, etc… use all the help you have around you!
6. What is next for you and Shaul? Any big plans?
We are thinking of moving back to the US in the next few years for Elissa to tackle graduate school. Other than that, our near plans are trying all the best restaurants in Tel Aviv (we have many more to go, and the food here is some of the best in the world), spending time with our two crazy cats, Shaul finishing his thesis, and Elissa developing her dance career in the meantime.
Congratulations, Elissa and Shaul! And thank you for allowing me to witness your biggest day! Go here for prints!