The photographer Q&A series is back! It’s back in a big way. These posts are some of my favorites to feature because they allow you to connect with awesome vendors (if you so choose) from the Philadelphia area, while also featuring some stop-what-you’re-doing-and-stare type of beautiful, awesome photography.
Amanda Young of SWOON OVER IT captured today’s engagement. The name of her photography company means business, y’all! And you will. You. will. swoon. Aside from the fact that you can tell Amanda, who is originally from Florida, absolutely loves what she does everyday, one of the most interesting things about her is that she got her start in the wedding industry by working for an event planner. As a result, she can quickly pin boutonnieres for your groomsmen in minutes while also making sure to capture the small moments, details, and large pictures of your day that make it…yours.
In today’s Q&A, you will learn all about Amanda and her unique background, and you’ll also find answers to staple questions about Amanda’s favorite locations and why she adores shooting weddings in the Philly area. She also sent along Annalily & Michael’s engagement photos. As a fellow creative Philadelphian, Annalily designs all of the window displays for Anthropologie. What? Yes.
Let’s get to it! Meet Amanda Young and SWOON OVER IT…
Going to the Chapel: You mention on your website that you have a background in wedding planning, and you have also talked about working within the publishing industry. How does your background influence your photography?
That’s a great question! Actually, working for a wedding planner as a side gig in college is what made me get into wedding photography in the first place. But, having this experience helping plan weddings is invaluable to me as a photographer today. I have an innate familiarity of constructing a timeline. I don’t break a sweat pinning on 10 boutonnieres in two minutes. And, I have a knack for balancing tight schedules, various wedding professionals, and dealing with the unexpected should it arise.
My background in publishing actually comes from having an English and communications degree. And, I think it’s pretty apparent how that helps and applies to me and my business. Though it sounds like it’s related only abstractly, I believe it makes me a better communicator with my clients and let’s me woo them with my words (kidding!).
Amanda Young: Why did you ultimately want to make the change and become a photographer?
Well, it depends what you’re talking about. When I worked in wedding planning, it wasn’t that I was necessarily going to become a planner. I just knew I loved weddings and thought the experience would be something to consider. And, obviously it was!
Working in publishing was my first “real” adult job out of college and… I hated it. Well, I didn’t hate it hate it, but I just knew it wasn’t for me. Not forever. Though my colleagues were wonderful, and the job was wonderful pay and great hours, I couldn’t stand the monotony of it all. I couldn’t handle the lack of creativity in general. It was, hands down, one of the most important experiences of my life, because in leaving the job I knew (1) I needed to do something creative with my life and (2) that I needed to work for myself.
GTTC: Why do you love photographing weddings in the Philly area?
AY: The Philadelphia area in general is amazing and moving here and establishing my business here has been such a wonderful experience. Mostly, I love how there is so much variety from one place to the next. Within a few miles from one another you can go from the rough urban landscape of downtown skyscrapers, to the fun, hubbub of someplace like Boathouse Row, to the rolling hills of the suburbs. And, I love how the city of Philadelphia itself has so much culture; it really makes each wedding and each couple completely unique from one another.
But, perhaps above all else, I absolutely adore the fellow wedding professionals I have met since moving to Philadelphia. There is truly so, so much talent in the wedding industry around here and I love getting to work with such inspiring, kind people.
GTTC: What are some of your favorite Philly places to visit while photographing a couple? What about your favorite hidden gems?
AY: Ooh, what a hard question! Really, I always encourage my couples to pick places that are unique the THEM as I think that makes the session infinitely more meaningful. Also, I love getting to shoot in places that are new or different for me – it lets me flex my creative muscles a bit, which is something I enjoy. But, if I had to pick, I’d have to say how much I love shooting in some of the hidden alleyways in Old City. Always makes for a fun surprise, and I think the couples are always shocked how the images look compared to how the alley may look in person!
GTTC: Can you describe some of the must have shots while capturing an engagement session and a wedding? How do you like to tell the couple’s story?
AY: I think it’s critical to have images that are fun and artsy to represent the couple’s unique relationship, but I also think it’s also important to have some classic images that are completely timeless. So, I like to think my style is a representation of both. I can’t say what a “must-have” shot is because I think that’s really dependent on each couple, but I think it’s essential to have shots that really represent them and their personalities. Sweet, soft shots of them interacting with one another… talking, laughing, hugging each other. Truly expressing their happiness. Moments captured in time.
Beyond that, to tell their story I really like to make sure to include the details along the way. Maybe it’s the look in his eyes as she laughs, maybe it’s the way she grips his hand as they cross the street, or the way he kisses her temple when she snuggles up to him. I like to make sure I get not just the wider image capturing the scene, but the tighter image capturing the moment.
GTTC: Classic vs. trendy shots, black and white vs. color – which style and photo type do you prefer and why?
AY: I think I kind of inadvertently answered this above. I love, love, love fun and trendy shots. I love coming up with interesting ideas, locations, composition for images. But, at the end of the day, I think it’s essential to have some classic shots as well. I don’t think I could ever choose between black and white or color. Both are wonderful for completely different reasons. I’ve jokingly said I’d be a strictly black-and-white photographer if I could, but I don’t mean it; all it takes is seeing all the breathtaking colors of an Indian wedding, or the stunning vibrancy of the spring flowers in bloom, and I know I could never really leave color images behind. Both are perfect for different types of images.
GTTC: Do you have a story (and photos!) about a couple whose session you really enjoyed photographing?
AY: I am so lucky that I really enjoy photographing all of my couples. It’s such an honor to be a part of such a special time in their lives.
But, one in particular that comes to mind is Annalily and Michael. Firstly, let’s start by explaining that Annalily is the one who designs the amazing windows at Anthropologie. You know, the insanely gorgeous, well-designed windows everyone talks about? Yea, those are by her. So, when she asked me to shoot her June nuptials I was completely and totally beside myself with excitement.
And even their engagement session was no exception. They are one of those couples who have such a sweet, endearing kind of love. The way he looks at her is just incredible. The way they laugh together. Everything. Undoubtedly the type of couple that leaves a photographer feeling so fortunate to get to do what they do.
I just have to jump in. I love this next photo because you can feel their happiness.
You were able to view Annalily & Michael’s engagement here, and be sure to check out their wedding on Amanda’s blog. That’s another fun fact that I learned about Amanda: she really loves to blog as a result of her time spent in the publishing world. If you would like to learn more about Amanda, there are several ways to go about it: visit her blog or website, “like” her page on Facebook, or follow her tweets on Twitter.
Did Amanda capture your photos? Share your experience with other readers in the comments!
*all photos are courtesy of Amanda Young & SWOON OVER IT