Member Aaron Riddle of Aaron Riddle Photography never thought about himself as a wedding photographer, but when he was asked to photograph a co-worker’s wedding he absolutely fell in love with it and that’s when his venture into wedding photography began. Learn more about his photography style, how he stays up to date on new technologies and techniques, and more in this edition of Behind the Lens.
1. How and when did you get started?
I majored in graphic design at UMBC and took a few photography courses as well (back when film was still being used). A few years later, I was hired as a graphic designer for a community college in Northern Virginia, and they also asked if I would be interested in serving as the official photographer for a few events.
After taking photographs at events for a few years, my interest in photography began to grow and I found myself reading more articles on photography, taking more photos, upgrading my equipment and practicing more and more. Eventually I was being asked by the College to serve as the official photographer for all special events, Commencement ceremonies and individual portrait shots.
My venture into wedding photography began when a co-worker requested that I take photos at their wedding. I had never thought about myself as a wedding photographer, but decided to give it a try.and absolutely fell in love with it. Shortly after I had two other couples (whom I did not know before hand) contact me about photographing their weddings and the rest is history!
2. What is your photographic style?
I would describe my photographic style as friendly, photo journalism. I tell stories through my photography by capturing candid moments and preserving them in time to show the beauty of a wedding, the happiness of an event or intimacy of a kiss shared by a newly-engaged couple.
While I take time to capture some traditional posed photographs, I believe the most special photographs are taken when I observe and record events as they happen naturally…the bride casually kissing the groom when no one is looking…the flower girl gazing at a single flower during the wedding reception…or the father of the bride hugging his daughter one last time before she leaves for the honeymoon.
3. Describe your typical day at work.
I begin the day early by handling e-mail, responding to clients and such. I will then tackle my to-do list for the day which may be editing photographs, doing some graphic / web design work (I also co-own a web design / development business) and other administrative tasks. Most of my photo shoots are held in the evenings or on weekends, so I will make sure all of my tasks for the day are done by early afternoon to accomodate my photo sessions, otherwise I will spend some time updating my online portfolio and social networking with other peers and clients.
4. What is the last workshop or seminar you attended and what did you learn?
I have not attended a photography workshop in quite sometime. However I spend an hour each day reading online articles, blogs, twitter posts from other photographers and such covering new technology, techniques and other-photography related news.
5. Any books or courses you would recommend to new photographers?
There are a ton of blog posts out there online by great photographers. Photofocus by Scott Bourne is a great one (http://photofocus.com).
6. What piece of equipment would you say is most important to you?
Wow…this is a hard one. It is tough to choose. I would say my cameras (Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 50D, a point and shoot) but have to give proper mention to my iMac and software (Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop) which allow me to do all my client communication and essential post-production work.
7. What do you offer that is special or unique?
I am a really flexible, genuinely nice guy who loves to tell stories through photographs and will take pictures in any setting, weather or location (I love a challenge). I am prompt and very quick to respond to any e-mail or phone call as all of my clients are very important to me. Also, I provide my clients with all digital images from my shoots as part of my photography package.
8. What is your biggest challenge as a business owner?
It’s not a big challenge, but just keeping up with technology. I want to be sure I am always on the forefront of what is going on with photographer, web sites and design that I am sure to read many articles to take in and learn as much as I can.
9. What do you love most about your job?
I love every part of it, but if I had to pick a favorite it is taking photographs of two people genuinely in love…be it an engagement shoot or while photographing a wedding day. Capturing their special moments together and really seeing that they enjoy being together makes me very happy.
10. Is there anything you would have done differently during your career that could be advice for others?
I don’t regret anything I have done, but I would say the more you take photographs, the better you will become. This is not new advice as it has been said many times before, but it rings so true…practice, practice and practice some more! Also, be passionate about what you do. If you do not have a passion for what you are doing, you will never succeed.
11. What new and upcoming technologies in photography (camera equipment, editing software, etc) excite you?
I recently acquired and iPad and am really excited about using it to show photographs to clients during meetings. I eventually hope to incorporate it into displays to show photographs directly after weddings or engagement sessions.