Ohio Wedding photographer Levi Ely of Ely Brothers recently took some time to chat with us and share his photos for a Spotlight Interview. The word that keeps coming to mind when describing his work is simply, HAPPY! His photos are delightful, and beyond capturing stunning moments of couples in love, Ely Brothers makes it their goal to act as a calming presence wherever needed on the wedding day. It’s no wonder that their couples look so effortlessly joyful. Thanks, Levi!
What brought about starting Ely Brothers Studio together? Basically I (Levi) wanted to do it but was too scared to do it alone. I asked my brother, Caleb, if he’d wanted to start something up and he agreed, thankfully. Not a whole lot of thought went into it really.
What is it like to work together as brothers? Any fights break out? 🙂 Or healthy competition? We’ve always been good friends, and never really fought. That really didn’t change after we started working together. We are always straight forward and honest, so whenever a problem came up we just talked about it. We both fell into roles that made sense for each of us, he focused on the business and I was the primary photographer and editor.
Recently Caleb decided he wanted to do something different, career wise, and took a job at a branding firm in Columbus. Since the switch, I have brought on a couple people to help me with my business and shooting. I haven’t decided if a name change is necessary or if I will keep it. Once the wedding season slows down, I’ll have some time to think about it.
How did you get into wedding photography? Well, as most photographers start out, there are huge plans to do ‘real’ photography, whether that be editorial portraits, photojournalism, commercial, etc. But in the meantime, you shoot anything to make money. After shooting a handful of weddings, we really liked it. We liked it so much that we switched our focus completely to weddings. After a while we forgot all about the other stuff.
What really gets to you at weddings? Uhhh…when the groom starts crying. If you don’t tear up watching that, then you are a robot.
What’s your favorite camera? lens? Not sure if I have a favorite camera. But Canon’s 35mm 1.4 is the lens that I would take with me on a desert island.
What are your favorite destinations locations? I just shot a wedding in the Snowy Mountain Range in Wyoming, and that was incredible. I will always want to shoot in the mountains out west.
Where do you want to shoot next? I want to shoot an outdoor wedding somewhere warm and arid with a pool party reception.
What gets you up in the morning? My kids. Literally.
What are your favorite wedding locations in your area? My favorite wedding locations are ones that people make up themselves. Rather than having a list of wedding venues, I like it when people find a place that they like, and then make it into their wedding venue whether it’s a field, a 100 year old warehouse, a backyard…
A tip or two for couples who are looking for their perfect wedding photographer? Find the photographer that best fits your personality and style. Meet with them in person if possible. Talking to someone over email and in person can be night and day. Cost should not be the first factor in finding a photographer. Your photo budget should be flexible.
One thing you’d like every bride and groom to know before their wedding?Your wedding day should be as stress free as possible. Here are a few things that will help that happen.
- Timelines should be loose.
- Only helpful and kind people should be involved in your wedding.
- Small wedding parties and fewer invitees.
- Get a professional wedding planner.
Describe your wedding photography style in less than 6 adjectives. Truthful, sincere, warm, inviting, happy.
Name three photographers do you admire or who has inspired you, either in the past or right now? Jonas Peterson for his eye and incredible talent, Platon for his subject interaction and ability to break down that invisible barrier that makes people uncomfortable with a camera in their face, Zack Arias for his hustle and drive.
Favorite wedding style? Laid back, rustic, people focused, with an emphasis on style and fun.
Best advice you’ve ever received about being a business person? “A new lens will not get you more clients.” David Bock from Cathy & David.
Best thank you that you’ve ever received? From a bride, two days after her wedding: “You made my heart, mind and soul completely at ease. Best wedding decision? Hiring ya’ll.”