Member Farrah Williams-Deck of Farrah’s Photography in Maryville, Tennessee began shooting wedding photography in 1999 when asked to photograph a friends wedding and from that point on her business grew into a full time career. Learn about her style, advice for photographers just starting out and what makes her stand out in this edition of Behind The Lens.
WPUSA: Farrah, tell us a little about how you got started in wedding photography?
Farrah: I began shooting wedding photography in 1999, when I was asked by a co-worker to photograph his daughter’s wedding. I had mostly been a nature photographer during the years before that. After shooting my first wedding, I had more and more requests to photograph weddings and booked them through word-of-mouth advertisement. After doing wedding photography as a part-time job for eight years, I got so busy that I decided to open my own business and do wedding photography as a full time job.
What’s your photographic style?
Farrah: I enjoy outdoor portraits and photojournalistic-style photographs, but I show a mixture of traditional, artistic, and photojournalistic/candid style photos in all of my work to satisfy our broad spectrum of customer requests.
Are there any books or workshops that you would recommend to new photographers?
Farrah: I would highly recommend “Digital Portrait Photography” by Steve Sint. This book is very easy to understand for beginners and has much to offer both beginners and professionals with ideas for posing, light, and equipment for the job.
With four children at home (including a newborn), I continue to learn more about photography on line or by reading photography books. I would love to attend seminars and workshops with hands-on training in the future. In the meantime, I find a wealth of knowledge on line without having to pay a fee.
Is there a piece of equipment that you would say is most important or helpful to you?
Farrah: I have recently purchased the Canon Mark II 21.1 MegaPixel camera with 24-105 IS L Lens. With the full frame sensor and the 580 EX II flash, images are clearer and much higher quality than the Rebel series I used to use. I also could not live without my photo editing software, Photo Impact Pro.
For all the brides reading this, is there anything unique or special about your service?
Farrah: All of our wedding packages include two photographers. I have eight experienced assistants to help me with photography during weddings, and the value we offer with our low prices really set us apart. Many of our customers are surprised with the quality of photographs they receive for such a reasonable price.
What would you say is your biggest challenge as a business owner?
Farrah: As a business owner, my biggest challenge is keeping up-to-date with our equipment and maintaining low prices while still turning a profit. I used to wonder why photographers charged so much for their services, and now I understand just how much upgrading and advertising money is necessary to stay competitive.
Is there anything you would have done differently during your career that could be advice for others?
Farrah: Get samples to show your clients so they can see the difference in quality, especially if you offer higher quality print paper than what they would receive in retail store when printing from a disc. I offer a copyright-released disc that can be purchased with our packages, but I also show them the difference in the prints they get from our gallery compared to an instant print machine.
What do you love most about photographing weddings?
Farrah: I love the responses I get from our customers after the job is done. I have even had brides who cried because they were so happy with their photos or dvd slide shows. I always welcome feedback and constructive critism to improve, and I learn something from every photo shoot. Some of my most fun poses during weddings have been ideas from my own customers, and I have been able to use those ideas on future jobs.
What new and upcoming technologies in photography excite you?
Farrah: I am excited to see the improvements each year in digital photography to improve photographs where they can be compared to the quality of 35mm film photographs.