The Academy had organized a networking lunch with Chelsea LaVere on 9th August . Chelsea LaVere is an enthusiastic entrepreneur in the wedding industry since 2009, she started as the eyes and heart behind Bit of Ivory Photography and Orchestrated Stylized Shoots. She is now retired as a full-time wedding photographer and is currently the leading lady as founder and editor-in-chief of Virginia’s #1 wedding blog, Tidewater and Tulle, as well as a founding co-owner of Aisle Society, an innovative website and online wedding media collective of 30+ of the top wedding blogs from all over the world!
Bride & Groom Middle East had the pleasure of talking to Chelsea LaVere to share some of her experience and her take on various subject .
As a wedding photographer since 2009, do you think the trend/style has changed over the years?
When I first started my business, it was significantly different, especially in terms of photo delivery. Many photographers weren’t offering high-resolution digitals as part of their standard wedding collections, and then as technology changed, CDs replaced prints, USB drives replaced CDs, and now the Cloud (online galleries) have replaced most all tangible products. Now that I am no longer shooting weddings and seeing things from the publication editor side of the industry, the mindset of photography has also shifted into a more expedient delivery time. Two to three months after the wedding used to be the norm for when couples received their images, and now it’s becoming 2-4 weeks after the wedding as industry standard.
Do you think there is a connection between the growth of social media and the wedding photography trend?
Absolutely, social media has made photographers significantly more accessible to potential clients. Before it was just word-of-mouth, printed advertising, and Google, and now engaged couples can better get to know the business through active social media accounts such as Facebook and Instagram. It has better connected an entire world of potential clients who might be planning their weddings locally or from afar. Technology is a pretty cool thing!
How is wedding photography different from other photography (e.g. travel, food)?
Wedding photography is completely driven by story, emotion, and the people. It’s a beautiful dynamic that you won’t find in any other photography niche. As an editor and honeymoon/travel writer, I still do a lot of travel photography for luxury resorts and travel brands, and while there is a story element in the photography, it’s a bit more straightforward: the experience of that resort through the details and amenities. Weddings are nuanced with moments of family, friends, and loved ones that otherwise might not be noted anywhere else.
How important is it for a budding photographer to be active on social media?
100% vital to any modern wedding business! Photographers have it easy when it comes to creating content. They are the copyright owners of their photography, so they have carte blanche to post and share as they see fit. Because it’s such a visual business, the best way to show what they sell is to share
How do you develop an eye for a stylised shoot?
Before the wedding industry, I was an art and photography teacher, so I have a wee bit of a different perspective. I see stylised shoots as art — a cohesive masterpiece full of lines, shapes, textures, and colors. I always recommend wedding professionals to look at magazines, blogs, paintings, and other visual sources and have them study them. What “looks and feels good” to them? What stands out as the dominant features (e.g., asymmetrical cake with painted details, large sweetheart chairs, brightly colored draping, etc)? By studying these, it’ll be easier to replicate over time and help people understand why a certain stylised shoot works as great inspiration.
Is this your first visit to the Middle East?
It was, and my brief visit was not long enough! Dubai was a perfect gateway city to the Middle East, I thought. For those who might be hesitant to travel, the UAE gives a look into the beauty that the Middle East has to offer for couples and travelers alike. I went on a camel desert safari with Platinum Heritage, and it was such an experience I’ll never forget learning about wildlife and plant life in the UAE, Bedouin traditions, and the peacefulness that is the expansive desert. And of course, getting to meet wedding and industry professionals through Arabian Academy of Wedding Planning was a huge highlight – people make up any destination, and the warm hospitality was so memorable.
What do you think of this region for destination weddings?
From getting to know the region through friends, editors, and content I’ve seen online, there is so much growth just waiting to happen for the Middle Eastern market. The landscapes, local resources, and wedding professionals available to couples are plentiful and stunningly perfect for destination weddings. Unfortunately, with current world affairs, the Middle Eastern wedding world gets stifled and doesn’t get to shine like it should. With more professionals submitting to online wedding publications and more gorgeous imagery showcasing local resources being circulated, the industry is going to rise to the global spotlight. Popular destinations like Dubai only help to elevate the region as a great option for travel and adventurous destination celebrations.