There's a lot of gorgeousness coming your way today with our Photographer Spotlight on wedding photographer Erich McVey. You may have already seen his dreamy photography in top wedding publications and blogs, but if you haven't yet, you
certainly will soon as he was recently named one of the 30 rising stars of wedding photography by Rangefinder Magazine. His photos are stunning, impeccably shot eye-candy, and overflowing with luscious color and emotion.
Junebug: What gets you up in the morning?
Erich McVey: Sugar Free Redbull. I can’t function without one to start my day.
Junebug: Describe your wedding photography style in less than 6 adjectives.
Erich McVey: Honest, timeless, romantic, light and soft
Junebug: What makes you give yourself a mental high five?
Erich McVey: There are so many great wedding industry professionals and photographers out there that sometimes it feels like everything has already been done. I high five myself when I feel like I have created something new and original with my photography.
Junebug: Do you shoot film, digital or both?
Erich McVey: I shoot almost entirely medium format film with my Contax 645. I love the look I’m able to create with film and the rich, timeless quality of the images. However, I do use a combination of film and digital at night, when there is limited light available. I have worked really hard to ensure that my film and digital work match up seamlessly, so every shot, no matter the format, looks like my work.
Junebug: You seem to be creative in so many different mediums. What keeps you inspired?
Erich McVey: I still can’t believe that I get to do what I do for a living. I feel like every wedding, photo shoot, or project I’m a part of keeps me inspired because of the environments, visions, and people I’m collaborating with. I also like to stay inspired by challenging myself to explore new mediums and create for just the enjoyment of it. Lately I’ve been shooting a lot of Polaroid film. It’s an entirely different experience from shooting medium format film, and has been a fun growing experience and new way to explore the world around me. I’m pretty sure my wife Amy is sick of always having to carry at least one Polaroid camera in her purse everywhere we go though. :)
Junebug: What do you enjoy about living and working in the Pacific Northwest?
Erich McVey: The beautiful scenery and being close to family. My wife, Amy, and I are both from Oregon and grew up enjoying the outdoors. We’re able to go out and hike, snowboard, wakeboard, kayak, visit the coast, etc. all within an hour drive of our home. We’re also very close with both of our families whom all live in Oregon as well, so we’re able to spend a lot of time with the people we love. Traveling for work is something we’re grateful for and really enjoy, but we’re always happy to come home.
Junebug: Where do you want to shoot next?
Erich McVey: I’m dying to shoot in Italy! I’ve been a few times, and Amy and I spent part of our honeymoon exploring the country, so it has a special place in our hearts. The language, food, and scenery are all so beautiful, and the light in Venice is unlike anywhere else I’ve been. It’s magic. I’m shooting a wedding outside of Rome next December, and I can hardly wait. A year and a half feels a long way off. Hopefully Amy and I can find a reason to visit Italy again before then!
Junebug: Best thank you that you've ever received?
Erich McVey: I don’t think any thank you I’ve received is better than another. There is nothing better than knowing my clients love the photos I worked so hard to capture during their wedding day. I know it sounds cheesy, but I honestly love every thank you card, email, and Facebook post I’ve received from happy clients telling me they love their wedding photos.
Junebug: A tip or two for couples who are looking for their perfect wedding photographer?
Erich McVey: Make sure you click with your photographer. Other than your new husband or wife, your photographer will be the person you spend the most time with on your wedding day, so it’s important that it’s someone who makes you feel comfortable, at ease, and whose company you enjoy.
Every wedding or shoot that a photographer does is different, but as you look through websites and blogs take note of the emotions that you feel when looking at a photographer’s work. If it speaks to you, makes you feel like how you want to feel when you look back on your own wedding day, then you’re on the right track.
Junebug: One thing you'd like every bride and groom to know before their wedding?
Erich McVey: Your wedding day only happens once, and as a recently married guy, I can attest to the fact that the day goes by far too quickly. It’s easy to miss out on moments, forget about details you spent weeks working on before the big day, and feel as though it was all a whirlwind. It’s an incredible whirlwind, but one that definitely leaves you feeling a little dazed at the end of the day. There is just so much to take in! That’s why I believe so firmly in what I do as a wedding photographer. I’m there to capture the moments, the ribbon wrapped around each guest’s napkin, the small locket on your bouquet that was your grandmothers, the moment when your parents are holding hands looking up at you getting married during the ceremony. These moments only happen once and are gone in an instant. Having a wedding photographer you trust, and who works diligently to capture all of these memories and special moments, is one of the best investments you can make for your wedding day. Those fleeting details and moments become photographs that remain for years to come as family memories and heirlooms that last for generations.
Junebug: How has being a wedding photographer made you a stronger photographer over all?
Erich McVey: Being a wedding photographer forces me to think fast, strategically react to changing surroundings, and make educated decisions quickly in order to create the best images possible. During a wedding day I can’t control the environment, schedule, or other details as much as I can during a planned, styled shoot. I have to work to capture moments, styled place settings, ceremony details and portraits all within a tight timeframe and with limited control. It makes me better able to adapt and harness my skills as a photographer in any situation, even when not shooting a wedding.
Junebug: How has witnessing so many weddings impacted your life/outlook?
Erich McVey: I can honestly say that during every single wedding I’ve shot I knew I was documenting real, honest, life-long love. There are so many statistics, news stories and reports on divorce rates and other awful anecdotes about the decline of lasting marriages that it is easy to feel jaded. Photographing so many weddings has shown me that there is more love, more devotion, and more respect for the sanctity of marriage than a lot of statistics and numbers could make us believe. It’s encouraging and uplifting to witness people committing to love.
Junebug: With so much great talent in the wedding industry, can you name five professionals you adore working with right now?
PETALOS – Stephanie, the owner and lead designer at PETALOS (a wedding design and floral company working in Oregon, Washington and California), is so creative, driven, and inspirational. Her work is phenomenal and she’s also just plain fun. Amy and I love meeting Stephanie for drinks whenever we have the chance.
Ginny Au – Ginny is a crazy-talented stylist and wedding designer based in Alabama. It’s always a joy to work with her and photograph her beautiful visions come to life. Ginny is styling my photography workshop I’m hosting this October and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with for the three days of shoots we’ll be doing.
Emily Riggs – Emily designs the most beautiful headpieces, veils, and other bridal accessories I’ve ever had the pleasure of photographing. Her pieces are timeless and elegant. I love her style.
Joel Serrato – A super 8 filmmaker based out of California, Joel shoots weddings all over the world. His work has a beautiful, dreamy quality to it that I love. He’s an amazing artist and an even better friend.
Moetic – Moetic filmed my own wedding, and I’ve been lucky enough to work with them since then. They are a great team of fun, creative filmmakers who love telling the story of a wedding day. They have such a cool, signature style that it is easy to see why so many couples make hiring Moetic a top priority when planning their day.
Junebug: Favorite image you've taken lately?
Erich McVey: I really love a shot I took (see below) during a recent editorial shoot for Emily Riggs Bridal. It was a challenge getting this shot – we had just a few minutes left before the sun completely set at the end of a long day shooting, the model was floating on her back in a river and I was precariously balanced on a ladder that Amy was holding steady while waist deep in water. The model couldn’t hear me directing her because her ears were underwater so we both just had to trust what the other was doing and work together silently to get the shot. The model’s expression, the way Emily Rigg’s veil and headpiece design are so vividly featured, and the overall mood of the shot are exactly what we were trying to achieve. I really love how it turned out.
Junebug: Best advice you've ever received about being an artist?
Erich McVey: Find your own inspiration. There is such a fine line between being inspired by other artists’ work and oversaturating your own mind and artistic vision through the work of others. You have to think for your self as an artist, creating new and original ideas through your own experiences, imagination and talent. Be cognizant of the work you’re creating and hold true to your own vision. That way, your ideas and your art are yours and yours alone.
Junebug: Best advice you've ever received about being a business person?
Erich McVey: My dad, who owns and runs a fine art framing business he and my mom started almost 30 years ago, told me, “Your clients deserve nothing less than your absolute best,” and he’s right. “Good” really isn’t good enough. I value the investment my clients make when they choose me as their photographer, and their trust in me is never something to take for granted. My clients deserve the best, and that’s what I work to deliver every time.
Junebug: What are looking forward to most right now?
Erich McVey: Amy and I are shooting weddings in France and Norway this summer, and I am really looking forward to spending time in those beautiful countries. We always love traveling and exploring new places, and to be able to do so while photographing incredible weddings with wonderful clients makes it that much more enjoyable.
Thank you, Erich, for sharing your time and gorgeous work with us! Visit Erich McVey's website, blog and Junebug member brochure to see more.