Taking beautiful photos is just one aspect of the wedding photography world. Creating an experience is what truly brings everything together.
I chatted with Ebby of Ebby L Photography, who discovered a love for weddings while shadowing a local photographer. According to Ebby, her love for it stems from her joy of building relationships with the people in the photos. 13 years later, she’s still photographing weddings, where she is committed to crafting thoughtful experiences for her clients and leaving them with happy memories.
All photos in this post are by and/or courtesy of Ebby.
Ebby started learning photography as a senior in high school while working on the yearbook. She’s now photographed over 250 weddings.
S&S: How did you get started with photography?
Ebby: I started taking photos at sports games and started kind of diving into learning how to use a camera, and then from there started taking my friends’ senior photos and then family photos.
I got into wedding photography when I was asked to do a wedding by a family friend and kind of thought like, whoa, this is a very different thing than taking some casual family photos. And so I inquired with a ton of local photographers and I started working as a second shooter photographer shadowing and learning. I then did that for most of college and also started getting weddings on my own, and by the point I was a junior in college I thought okay, I can go full time and I can do this when I graduate. So I was really lucky to kind of fall into it at a time where I didn’t necessarily have to make a full income at that point. I was developing the ground work for it.
S&S: Was it nerve wracking shooting that first wedding?
Ebby: It was terrifying. I’ll never forget I made a little flip book of notecards just in case I panicked and didn’t remember something.
I was 18 so that was very, very intimidating. There's a couple pictures from that wedding that I still have and am so proud of because it was just such a different experience and so it’s like wow I took that then and it's actually not that bad.
S&S: How did you realize that you loved photography and wanted to pursue it?
Ebby: I feel like I immediately just loved photography and taking pictures of people, and I learned very quickly that it was the people behind the photos rather than the landscape pictures. Because I kind of did an array of things starting off, and then when I started working for the wedding photographer all of a sudden it just clicked for me. I was like wow I really like this, I like the environment, there’s obviously a lot of joy around it. But I think it takes a certain kind of person to also like the high intensity aspect of wedding photography. So I think my first couple of years shadowing and working for the other photographer kind of inspired me to be like okay I want to do this.
S&S: I feel like wedding photographers are so a part of the day and make people feel so comfortable, but it’s also almost like you’re not even there.
Ebby: I feel like even when I’m booking weddings or talking to people initially prior to them booking me, I kind of do stress like just remember it sounds weird to say this but you want to have a relationship with your photographer. Because realistically I'm going to spend more time with you than almost every single one of your guests. I will be with you more than anyone else is. You spend so much time and it’s really important to feel comfortable and have a relationship with your photographer. It’s like you said, it's almost like we're not there, but at the same time we're very there.
S&S: Do you have a specific creative process when you're working with a client?
Ebby: I would say on a wedding day I very much kind of have a ‘this is what I traditionally do each wedding.’ I don’t think that anyone would be able to see that for the most part I'm prompting the same prompts every single wedding, because you’re getting different situations and you’re getting different people and different styles and locations, so everything looks different. But as far as a process goes, I’m thinking more engagement sessions. The first thing would be to start simple and make them feel comfortable in standard photos, and then kind of dive into more movement and laughter and make sure that they start to ease in and have a lot of fun, because the weirdest thing ever would be to put them in a super intimate pose as soon as we start. So just like making clients feel comfortable and progressing creatively from there.
S&S: How do you make people feel comfortable for intimate poses?
Ebby: Even prior to the engagement session, I ask what are significant things that represent the two of you? It might be that someone has a dog, or their apartment. So immediately finding things that represent the two of then as a couple, not just like here’s this pretty spot I want to put you in. So from there grabbing things that they like. Also one of the first things, and I probably say this every single session, is like ‘by the way I know this is weird, I know that you guys don’t normally do this. I know it’s very unnatural to have PDA poses in public and do all of these things, like if you feel nervous it’s normal.’ And then from there we'll ease into it. Also just kind of playing off of them. Like if it’s very obvious that they don't want to kiss in their photos, I'm not going to put them in super kissy pictures. So kind of just feeding off of them. Some people are just naturally more like hugging and kissing than others. If there’s a couple who maybe isn’t super naturally relaxed, I’ll do more walking, talking, laughing poses like that, because it kind of forces you into movement and natural laughter, rather than saying ‘okay now look at each other and laugh.’ People don’t always start out perfectly posed. It’s definitely a process.
S&S: How would you describe your photography style?
Ebby: I think I would say I try to shoot closest to real life. So very true to tone, color. I wouldn’t say I'm all candid, but I want the photos to be very natural and joyful and fun in comparison to super posed or editorial looking.
S&S: What do you love the most about what you do?
Ebby: For me it's all about the people. So my favorite thing is seeing how happy their photos make them and also giving them a happy experience through the photos. When you're taking a photo, even if it’s a normal life thing, but maybe you were freezing or you weren’t feeling your hair or you weren’t feeling super comfortable in your shirt or whatever it is, that’s what you remember when you look at the photos. So being able to give them an experience where they enjoyed it and they felt good, and then that’s reflected in their pictures makes me happy. Really just getting to connect with people and give them photos that mean something is really the reason behind all of it.
I feel like the number one thing behind my business is the experience. I think it's important to remember that a lot of people can take a really pretty picture, but I think that would be where I consider my job unique, or why people do come to me, because I’m offering more than just a pretty picture in the process.
S&S: How do you create an experience for people?
Ebby: Prior to their wedding or their engagements or anything, there's always a lot of communication and transparency and making sure they feel comfortable being able to ask me anything. And that I am willing to give input, even if it’s figuring out what outfits to start with or anything like that. Then just educating and preparing prior to the wedding day, so that when I do get there we've already gone through everything. So just making sure that there’s communication throughout, and then after their wedding giving them something. They see photos within 24 hours after their wedding, so they see something right away. So not only is their experience on the wedding day good, but there's also affirmation and something instant immediately afterwards. So just kind of continuing that conversation and also just being their friend too.