This year we had the pleasure of working with Paper Antler Photography at a wedding in Madison, WI. After getting a peek at the photos from the event, they quickly became some of our favorites of the season. The way they captured the moments of the party conveyed more than just the events that occurred, but also the emotion and energy that represented the couple and our band very well. We had a chance to correspond with Jonny, one of the photographers at Paper Antler, about how he and Michelle got started in the business and what they love about photographing weddings. Check out their answers below, and I would also recommend checking out their stellar website here.
I (Jonny) studied philosophy and photography in college. Right after graduating, I started creating a portfolio and shadowing photographers in Minneapolis while Michelle – with her natural eye for space and design – started assisting me on my solo assignments. That was back in 2007. We knew that we loved working together so we set out to find a career that a.) valued creativity and artistry, b.) would have intrinsic meaning, and c.) allow us to have some flexibility in our schedule as neither of us are 9-5 people. Once we had enough weddings and other gigs booked, we quit our jobs and set out full steam ahead as photographers.
What are some of the main services you offer and how do they set you apart from other competitors?
Our wheelhouse is photographing weddings and have traveled all over the country and some of the globe to do so. We want to be the best photographers we can be and thus we keep our focus on photography and don’t offer many services otherwise. The fact that we are a husband + wife duo does allow us to be in two places at once at a wedding, and because we have worked together and now have been married for almost seven years, we can communicate with hand signals and facial expressions, much like the secret service but not as fancy.
Couples should choose a creative, artistic photographer for sure, but more importantly a photographer that makes them feel comfortable and who is also a nice person. It doesn’t do much good to have a technically great photographer who man-handles your bridal party and is rude to your Uncle Jim. When photographing weddings, you need to be ultra patient at times, and there’s really no room for ego.
What part of your job do you find the most satisfying and the most challenging?
One of the most satisfying parts of photographing a wedding is that as the photographer, you are giving the couple a tangible artifact and vestige of one of the most important and celebratory days of their life. At that point, it becomes about something way bigger than photography and those photographs now serve as reminders for the rest of your lives and also for your family now and in the future.
The most challenging part of our job is keeping up with correspondence and editing photos, though it’s hard to complain. Also, it can be a little obnoxious when dozens of people with iPads cut in front of us at weddings to take a photo that we set up.
What is the craziest event story you can share?
A wedding that we photographed last year featured none other than Ric Flair (wwf world champion) as a surprise guest for the groom. He walked the bride down the aisle and the expression on the groom’s face was priceless. We later got a picture with Ric Flair, with Michelle and myself flexing. That one made the scrapbook.
Where in the world do you enjoy photographing the most?
We’ve photographed weddings from Carmel Valley, CA to the Lakes District in England, and honestly there is so much beauty every place we’ve been to photograph a wedding. A place like California offers a few more options than the Chicago suburbs but so much about wedding photography is finding beauty regardless of the location.