From the red carpet of Hollywood’s hottest celebs to the streets of Minnesota suburbia, Wedding photographer Robert Evans treats all of his clients like A-List royalty. His focus on “capturing the moment” and his passion for the “thrill of the hunt” sets his work apart. Learn more about Robert Evans and his passion for wedding photography including his experience with some of our favorite Celebrities in this week’s V.O.W. Q&A.
Q: How long have you been in the photography business and did you always know you wanted to shoot weddings?
A: I’ve been in the business for 27 years but my passion for photography started at a young age. My dad always had cameras and photos around the house, I took beginners photography class in junior high where we learned basic black room techniques and made pinhole cameras from oatmeal boxes. This is probably where my interest in photography was sparked. I continued to take photography classes in high school and was a teacher’s assistant for the instructor, so I was basically taking two periods of photography everyday. After high school I attended a junior college for 3 or 4 semesters, I was going to school full-time and working full-time and decided that school was the easiest thing to cut out. That’s when I really realized how much I enjoyed photography; because I missed it a lot. I ended up falling back on photography; I guess I was really just naïve enough to believe I could make it in the business.
I knew a lot about black and white photography from classes I had taken in school, but I decided if I was going to be in the business I wanted to know more about color photography. I ended up getting a job at a color lab in California, I learned a lot but that is where I realized I didn’t want to process other peoples work, I wanted to create my own.
I got a job at a studio where there was an opening in the wedding department; I was putting together albums and started to shadow the wedding photographers on the weekends. I guess I didn’t seek out the wedding business it really came to me. I ended up working at three different studios before I opened my own in January of 1994.
Q: What do you like about wedding photography?
A: I really like people, and I like getting to know them and sharing a special day with them. I actually shoot for myself because I know if I’m super excited and happy at the end of the day the couple will be too. I like to play and have fun with couples, I don’t force anything, and we work with our environment a lot. What I like the most is the thrill of the hunt, trying to capture that one photo that is super powerful and different.
Q: What does an average day of wedding photography look like?
A: It’s usually a 10 or 11-hour day for me. It all starts about 3 or 4 hours before the ceremony. I start with getting ready photos, which is a good time for me to get to know the bridal party. Then a couple hours before the ceremony we typically do a first look session with the bride and groom, which I really encourage. For me the most important part of this is the privacy, I focus on privacy, lighting and location when it comes to first look photos with privacy being the most important piece. After I spend that intimate time with the couple we do immediate family and bridal party photos and next we move to extended family and special friends.
The day really isn’t about the photos, its about the experience. I want to make sure to explain everything to the couple so they know what to expect and can focus on experiencing their wedding day and not worry about the photography.
Q: You have a very noteworthy list of celebrity clients… What was the first celebrity wedding you shot?
A: Technically the first celebrity wedding I shot was in 1992, it was for Duff Mckagan of Guns and Roses. After I started my own studio it was Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt in 2000.
Q: Do you have a favorite celebrity wedding you have shot?
A: All my clients are fun but if I had to choose I would say Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton. They really embodied southern hospitality and I almost forgot they were celebrities while I was shooting. I like to develop relationships with all my clients and sometimes that is hard to do with celebrities but Miranda and Blake stayed in touch after I was done with their wedding. I would even talk with Miranda’s mom after the wedding.
Tom and Katie’s wedding in Italy was another memorable one. I spent 10 days in Italy for their wedding, which really helped me capture the whole story of their wedding. I remember the first night we were there we had a welcome dinner. There was a huge crowd and tons of celebrities surrounding me. Tom walked right up to me in the middle of all this and said, “I want to thank you for doing this for me, I really appreciate it”. That is a moment I will never forget, I remember thinking why are you talking to me? But it really meant a lot. At the end of the trip I was sitting on the Spanish steps with my team drinking wine and looking back on what we had done was just amazing.
Q: Do you have any favorite wedding moments that stick out when you look back on your career thus far?
A: The process of being chosen to shoot Brad and Jen’s wedding was a memorable experience. I was told to submit a portfolio of work for a cooperate event. I found out that I had been chosen for the event and was told the date but still didn’t know the details of what it was for, I remember listening to the radio two weeks before I was scheduled to shoot and heard there were rumors of Brad and Jen getting married on July 29th, and I thought to myself that’s it! It was such an honor and I was so excited and nervous too, I just had to tell myself to do what I do and keep in mind they chose me because they loved my portfolio and what I could do. I tried not to pay attention to the fact that they’re celebrities I treated them like I would treat any other clients and that is still something I do today. Weather you are an A-list celebrity or a Minnesota bride I treat you the same.
Q: What photography advice do you have to couples that are getting married and in the process of planning photography?
A: You have to focus on choosing someone you like and connect with. You have to feel comfortable in front of them and they should match your personality. They should fit your style too; if you don’t want super traditional photos you shouldn’t choose a photographer with that style and vice versa.
Secondly, don’t cut corners on your photography budget. It’s true that you get what you pay for when it comes to wedding photography. At the end of the day the band, the food and the flowers are all gone and you are left with the picture, that’s really all you have, so if you’re going to spend money on anything I would choose photography.
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