Photographer & Real Wedding Spotlight: A Q&A with Jenna Walcott

I don’t know about you, but I love wedding photography. And by love, I mean love, love, love everything about each photo. It seems fitting, then, to introduce you to some of the Philadelphia area’s photography pros. These guys and gals will document everything from your engagement to the moments before, during, and after your walk down the aisle, and you want these photos to be winners.

Shall we get started?

Let me introduce you to our first photography pro, Jenna Walcott. From the moment I first contacted her about this new series, she was on board. Let me tell you, Jenna is fun and very easy to talk to. All of which are important when choosing your photographer.

Prior to beginning her photography studies at the University of Delaware, Jenna discovered the Henri Cartier-Bresson’s work “In India,” and she realized she was really interested in the medium. After graduating and working for a photographer formerly affiliated with National Geographic, Jenna had a (decade long) stint in marketing before rediscovering her love of photography by photographing a wedding, no less. Jenna hasn’t stopped capturing weddings ever since, and on December 6, she launched her redesigned (!) website, which includes her updated brand, logo, and portfolio.

Below you’ll find a Q&A where Jenna talks about her love of photographing weddings in Philadelphia and beyond (she travels, too!), her photography aesthetic and favorite moments, as well as the reasons why she loved one couple in particular. Oh, and let’s not forget the Real Wedding photos of Phyllis and Brendan’s day, which took place in September 2011 at the Phoenixville Foundry. There’s one photo of Phyllis and Brendan sharing a kiss with her veil blowing in the wind. Oh my. Just wait.

Going to the Chapel: Why do you enjoy photographing couples in the Philadelphia area?

Jenna Walcott: Philadelphia and the surrounding areas have so many hidden gems – from the textured urban landscapes of the city to the quaint environments tucked away in Bucks County to the small but charming towns along the Schuylkill – the variety is endless. I also love Philadelphia couples because (at least in my experience) the area is full of wonderful, down to Earth people who are genuinely lovely to work with. I photograph weddings and couples from metro Philly to DC locally, so I am lucky to enjoy the charms of many of the Mid-Altantic geographies and in the end it all comes down to truly enjoying photographing couples in love – no matter where they come from.

GTTC: Some of the moments you capture are set in black and white while others are in color. Is there one that you prefer? Why?

JW: When I learned to shoot it was on Black and White film. And there is something so timeless and classic about a black and white shot.  Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love color photography, and the advancement in digital photography has made using color such a different experience and I think color photography has become a very powerful tool. I take careful consideration in converting an image to black and white because I think there are certain qualities in an image that lend itself well to that presentation: the strength of the moment caught, the light used to capture it, the composition and its ability to communicate visually without the use of color. In many ways, when you take color out of photograph, the photo must be able to speak for itself – thus the decision becomes an important one.

GTTC: What is your number one favorite moment at a wedding that you try to capture at every event?

JW: That’s an incredibly difficult question! There are so many moments that I look forward to at every wedding that it would be nearly impossible to choose just one. But I think the “favorite” moment I work hardest to capture at each wedding is the one that I haven’t captured yet before – at any other wedding. The key moments during every wedding are all unique, because every couple and their bond is truly unique, but I am always looking for that true once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to catch tenderness, joy, love and genuine emotion that no one can predict will overcome them.

GTTC: Some couples look forward to taking photos while others dislike the attention. What are your top five ways for couples to relax and have fun at their shoot?

JW: I think it all starts with trust – I work hard to build a relationship with my clients so they can feel at ease. And doing an engagement shoot really helps with working out the “in-front-of-the-camera” jitters. I highly recommend doing one if you are getting married! This dress-rehearsal of sorts gives couples a pressure free environment to practice feeling natural in front of the camera and it helps to establish a level of trust between us in working together. I started creating Pinterest boards with my couples to inspire ideas about wardrobe because I receive so many questions about what to wear. This way we get to explore the style of the shoot together and I learn from them what they really are attracted to visually. It’s a great ice breaker! I also sometimes pop some music on my iPhone to either create mood or lighten it up. What seems to work best though is helping the couple to understand that focusing on each other will help the camera to disappear altogether – allowing those authentic moments to come alive.

GTTC: Do you have a story (and photos!) about a couple whose session you really enjoyed photographing?

JW: Phyllis and Brendan were a pleasure to photograph – from the engagement session to their fabulous wedding day – they always were a romantic and intimate couple that just made you want to curl up in front of a fire with the one you love.

They are honest and gentle and loving – toward one another and toward the world.

From the moment I met them, I instantly felt this genuine sense of tenderness and warmth that you just don’t get all that often from people. Needless to say, it was an emotional ceremony and an extremely touching day – the type of wedding that makes me not just love what I do, but live for it.

The Phoenixville Foundry is a stunning venue, with their loft-style ballroom and full- length windows they provide a dramatic and modern atmosphere in the middle of a charming little downtown locale. Their timber-framed open-style bridge makes for a great location to shoot portraits and group shots and leads into a nice field where you can take advantage of some green and open space. Rustic, modern and urban, this spot is a photographer’s dream!

If you would like to contact Jenna, you can do so here on her website. Be sure to visit Jenna’s new site, in general, become a fan on Facebook, or follow her on Twitter (or you can do all three!).

Featured vendors: Photography: Jenna Walcott {} Venue: Phoenixville Foundry {} Catering: Queen of Hearts Catering

Be sure to keep checking the blog for our next photographer spotlight; however, have you every worked with Jenna? What about your experience did you love? What are some of the photos you are most looking forward to from your engagement session and wedding day? Make sure to comment below! 

*all photos courtesy Jenna Walcott Photography


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