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James is a contributor at The Hudsucker and Indianapolis Monthly. He's also a full-time student at IUPUI where he's one year away from a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism with a minor in Sociology. Music and friends are his main interests. He also loves sports, vinyl records and photography. Born and raised in the Midwest, he loves Indiana. But in a perfect world he would take Nashville, Tennessee and place it on the coast of St. Augustine, Florida, where he would live and never leave.

Dating A Wedding Photographer

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About four years ago I was lucky enough to steal the heart of a sweet Indiana girl with a passion for teaching the younger generation. She also loved Celine Dion, fashion, photography and lifestyle blogs. I’d never heard of the enormous phenomenon, “modern vintage,” until I met her.

Eventually, she became a teacher by day, dedicated blog follower by night. And as I became familiar with a girl named James, a husband and wife photo-team and many others, I realized these were the things lighting a fire under her. She loved getting home from work only to scroll through blogs filled with love and loss, family, style and photography. She was (and still is) obsessed with seeing beautiful moments captured on her favorite blogs.

Within our first year together, she realized she was meant to capture the beautiful moments in people’s lives. She started by taking pictures of friends and high school seniors; a lot of professional wedding photographers start this way. After a bit, she started to second-shoot with a professional wedding photographer. Finally, she bought a website/blog and compiled all her photos online.

On May 29, 2011 she shot her first wedding under Emily Weis Photography. Today, Emily’s shot nearly 50 weddings and was 2013’s Best Of Weddings pick by The Knot.

Obviously, It’s easy for me to sit here and praise Emily. But I’m the one who tells her the truth. I’m very honest when we discuss business ideas, logos, designs, what pictures to post, etc. I’ve hurt her feelings before and I know what the photography doghouse looks like. But it really does help to be honest with the ones you love, as Emily still asks my opinion first.

I’ve always loved taking pictures. Way before I met Emily I was always the friend wanting pictures. When Emily’s career started taking off I started asking questions about DSLR cameras. After a couple years, she hired me to second-shoot with her full-time. We hope to fully work as a team one day, as I seek to be the only guy in the world who wants their boss to be their (future) wife.


Photo by: James Layne

Photo by: James Layne

For fun, I did a little Q & A with Emily. She’s made some really smart business decisions and has sacrificed a lot to follow her dreams. I thought it might inspire some.

The Hudsucker:  You’ve juggled a full-time teaching job with your business. What advice do you have for people scared to commit to their dreams?

Emily Weis:  Don’t be scared to commit. Take out the fear & throw yourself into it.  Fear will only make it more daunting and feel much less like your dream. You’re always going to be able to say, “But, I need to do this.  I need to do that.”  There will always be reasons and excuses not to do it—don’t let that fear of “what if” take over. I have two full-time jobs, but I refuse to give my business any less than I would if it were my only full-time job. I’ve probably pushed myself too far. I realize that I should have already committed to doing photography full-time, but I’m in a unique situation where teaching allows me to have summers off with breaks through the year. For now, it works for me. It won’t always work and I’ll make that decision when the time comes. But I can tell you one thing…I will never, ever be afraid of jumping in.

THS:  You developed wings by second-shooting. What advice do you have for people in that role today?

EW:  My advice would be don’t be shy and afraid, but be respectful. Understand the importance of your role with the photographer you’re working for. Make sure the two of you have communicated so that your role & their expectations are clear. Pay close attention to the tiny details of the process, soak it up, explore, be brave and enjoy it!

THS:  What’s your biggest pet-peeve in the photography industry?

EW:  Oh, this is hard! I don’t know that I really have pet-peeves, but I suppose I’d say many people don’t fully understand the importance of wedding photography, fine art, and the amount of work it takes to run your own business. A wedding day pet-peeve of mine would have to be when someone steps in front of me in the aisle to snap a photo on their cell phone, which blocks me from being able to get the shot. Unplugged wedding ceremonies are awesome!

THS:  Most of your weddings are in Indiana, but this job lets you travel too. How far have you traveled to shoot a wedding?

EW:  I’ve traveled to a beautiful lake in Georgia, Chicago, and Iowa. This year I have the privilege of traveling to the mountains in North Carolina. 2013 also has weddings in St. Louis and Chicago. They’re bound to be amazing. It’s fun to make a weekend out of it and photograph in new places.  It’s always inspiring to travel. I’m incredibly thankful people want me to travel to photograph their wedding. Pretty cities, beautiful weddings, amazing couples, and road-trips—it couldn’t get better!

THS: Who/what inspires you to always push yourself?

EW:  My clients (now friends) are the ones who inspire me and continue to push me. I’m capturing their legacy and creating an heirloom for their family. These images will be what everyone looks back on in 65 years. That, in and of itself, is inspiring to me. Every single one of my clients has special stories. I take the time to get to know that story so I can capture it on camera, because what matters is how a client feels when they see a specific image.

Emily Weis Photography

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2 Comments on “Dating A Wedding Photographer”

  1. David H October 14, 2013 at 9:24 am #

    Excellent story and heart warming.

  2. wallermily May 1, 2014 at 4:29 am #

    Wedding day is a special day. This day is coming one time in our life. We really enjoy every movement on wedding day. We make lots of fun together.

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