Happy Wedding Wednesday. I know right now we are in the thick of it with the quarantine and coronavirus madness so something like a #WeddingWednesday may seem trivial BUT I think these little bursts of hope and happiness are what can help to keep us inspired. The lack of in-person contact with the outside world is taking tolls on everyone in different ways. It can feel harder to stay connected to your loved ones let alone your acquaintances and colleagues. I really wanted to find a way to keep in touch with all of my favorite wedding vendors (outside of just social media and liking their Instagram posts!) so I am bringing back my Vendor Spotlight series!
First up, I did an "interview" with Abigail Connor of Abigail Jean Photography! Abigail and I actually met via Instagram when I was searching for a photographer for one of my clients (and yes, they booked her!). I stumbled across her page by searching #bostonweddingphotographer and just fell in love with her work! She's got an amazing eye for photography and her images truly tell the story of your day. Plus when I saw we were both die hard ice cream lovers and shared the same middle name, I knew she was someone I had to get to know!
Abigail and I have now worked together on two different client weddings (check out Helen & Steve and Brennah & Alex) and I can't wait until we get to collaborate again. Now, without further ado, I'd like to introduce all of you to the lovely, Abigail Jean!
Alright Abigail, I've just totally hyped you up there but can you tell us all who you are and what you do in the wedding industry?
Hey guys! My name is Abigail, and I'm a New England wedding photographer. I moved to Boston in 2013 to intern "just for the summer," and here I am 7 years later ready to go full-time with my business! It honestly wasn't one smooth ride, I questioned doing it to the point of almost quitting two years ago, and didn't fully invest myself until that point. Now it is something I absolutely love. I'm so grateful to have this as my job.
I think a lot of us in the wedding industry can empathize with you on the beginning not being a smooth ride (I know I can!) Congratulations to you for toughing it out and pushing yourself to stick with it! Tell us, how did you get into photography, specifically weddings?
I grew up with 5 siblings in the hills of New York, and we were constantly creating: making home movies, putting on plays, writing books, and doing photoshoots in crazy costumes. I was always the impotence for that last one, and quickly became the "family photographer". I was home schooled, and my parents really geared our schooling around things that we showed interest in. I remember my dad helping me build a backdrop in our barn using 2x4's as a frame, with bed sheets stapled across. It was even reversible and on wheels! I landed my very first photography gig by taking headshots for a friend in front of it. I became interested in weddings when I interned with a wedding photographer in Boston when I first moved out here. She was so generous in showing me the ropes, letting me borrow her gear, and teaching me the ins and outs of her business. I owe so much of my career to Courtney Ryan. I never went to school for photography, so I've learned everything I know by assisting, attending workshops, and just trying! My goal is to never stop learning.
Wow! That is such an amazing story! I had no idea you were home schooled! And I absolutely love that - learning and continuing our education is so important. Now that you've photographed loads of weddings, what would you say is your favorite part of the day to capture?
Probably the first look, whether that happens before the ceremony or when the bride walks down the isle. It's so emotional and raw and I love capturing it!
Mine too! That and the big reveal when the couple gets to see their reception space for the first time. The design component and witnessing the couple seeing all of our hard work come to life is just incredible! Those reactions keep me feeling inspired and keeps me coming back for more. What are some things that inspire you?
Nature. People. Travel. Trying something new. If I'm in a creative rut I know it's time to grab a friend and just do a shoot for fun! That will almost always include being outside, as God's creation is a huge inspiration to me.
YES! Sometimes we all need that - to step out of doing our job for clients and take some time to do it for ourselves. I completely get that! Switching gears a little bit, I'm sure you hear it all the time but what do you say to couples who say they feel "awkward and uncomfortable" in front of the camera?
I would say, you are normal! A LOT of people tell me this. I would also say this is one of the most important aspects of my job. Anyone can take a photo. But to get good photos where you look and feel comfortable takes more than just pushing a button - it takes connection. My job is to get to know each couple so that I can showcase YOU. I do this by meeting you in person (or over FaceTime), getting to know you on a human level, and then continuing that during our shoot. I use a lot of movement-based direction during couple's photos, so that you'll always have something to do and you're not stuck thinking, "what do I do with my hands!" My job is to create an experience that is fun, even for the most camera-shy person, and this is hands-down the biggest thing people like about my work. So take the stress off, MY job is to get you to feel comfortable in front of the camera. Your job is to show up and just be yourself!
Great advice! I never thought of myself as someone who was shy or awkward - until I got in front of the camera on my own wedding day! I was like okay, why am I being so self-conscious right now?! Why am I so weird?!?! So good to know that everyone feels like that! As wedding vendors, we've all definitely experienced some weird, odd, funny and uncomfortable moments - tell us a funny story of yours from a wedding or an engagement session!
The first time I ever got to shadow was for an engagement shoot. I put on a flowy dress, threw on my brand-new camera backpack, and took the train into Boston to meet up with the couple and Courtney (the main photographer). I felt SO cool. I got out at my stop, walked the long hallways of the underground T station, up two flights of stairs, and out into the open air of the Boston Common. People were everywhere. I was one with the city. I walked, smiling, past crowds of people, and then I heard, "Ma'am!" I kept walking. "Ma'am!" I didn't turn around, not wanting to be harassed by someone trying to sell me something. "MA'AM!!" I whirled around ready to give whoever this guy was the business, and then he said, "your skirt!" And lo and behold, my flowy dress had got caught up under my backpack and I was literally walking around mooning hundreds of people. And no, I was not wearing shorts underneath. I was absolutely mortified, so I just mumbled thanks, and walked away as fast as I could! It's a really funny story now, but can you imagine if that guy hadn't said anything?? I would have showed up to my first ever shoot with my butt cheeks hanging out. If you're curious, yes, I wear spandex underneath ALL my dresses now!
That is GOLD! I love it! Well, it sounds like you found your calling as a photographer (and we're so glad you did!) But, what do you think you'd be doing if you weren't a wedding photographer?
There's a lot of things I could envision myself doing, but really my main passion is to free women and children from sex slavery. I hope to be more involved personally someday, but for now this mission is woven into my business as a wedding photographer. 10% of everything I make goes towards organizations that do this, and it's honestly a huge reason that I decided I wanted to be successful in my business. This life is short, and I want my time here to matter. God has put this on my heart, and I'm so grateful that I get to help fund freedom for others. And I get to do that by documenting love. How cool is that??
That is incredible. And amazing to hear that when couples book you, they are also supporting a cause you care so deeply about. Thank you so much for sharing your story with me! I even learned some things about you that I didn't know before.
You can find out more about Abigail and her photography services on her website: https://www.abigailjeanphotography.com/
And go give her a follow on the 'gram: @abigailjeanphoto
Here is a little teaser of her work - you may recognize a couple past AJSE couples in there too!
Thanks for stopping by today! Have an amazing week.