Today our Photographer Spotlight Interview is with DWJohnson Studio, Chicago-based wedding photography team. Their photos are elegant and refined, with the perfect amount of playfulness. DWJohnson Studio is full of passion, and dedicated to creating wedding photos that will make their clients happier than a kid opening presents on Christmas morning. (See for yourself in their hilarious video response to one of our questions later in the interview.)
So tell me how you got into wedding photography. David Johnson – When I was a junior in college, a guy from my church who knew I was interested in photography asked me if I ever shot weddings. I got excited because he was a younger, good looking guy, and I assumed his fiancé would be too. I thought this was the perfect opportunity to turn what was a hobby into a paid job and maybe one day a thriving business. It wasn’t until later that I found out he was actually interested in me photographing his 84-year-old father’s wedding to his 79-year-old bride. I was hesitant, but after I met the couple, I realized this was a really amazing opportunity to celebrate with a widow and widower taking a second chance at marriage. Although I had no idea what I was doing, I tried to give everyone the impression that I was a seasoned veteran photographer. It was a great but also humbling experience that now I wouldn’t trade for anything, even if at that time it did make me question photography as a career choice!
Wow! That’s quite a start! So now that you’ve been shooting for a while, what is your favorite moment at weddings? When Uncle Bill asks what type of camera we have and starts talking shop.
Describe your wedding photography style: Refined, Timeless, Stylish, Simple, Fresh.
Best thank you that you’ve ever received? Peter Hoffman – A motorcycle. One of my best friends from high school who had moved away was getting married. Since we had gone way back, she wanted me to attend the wedding and felt bad about asking me to photograph, so she booked another photographer in her city. One night when we were in town and we were catching up she joked that she wished I could photograph her wedding to which I replied, “Well you didn’t even ask me.” She lamented having already signed a contract that she was bound by and since we had been friends forever I told her “Whatever, I’ll bring my camera, stay out of the photographer’s way and shoot photos of stuff you want.” She stressed about how she would pay me for that and since I had been shopping around for an old motorcycle that day I joked that she could just have her (mechanically inclined) fiancé find and fix one of the bikes I wanted. To my surprise, that’s exactly what happened.
Best advice you’ve ever received about being a business person? It’s not just about the product, it’s about the experience your client is having.
What is the best possible/your favorite reaction from a client when you deliver their images? This amazing Youtube video!
Wow! That is so great. I love it! Do you have any tips for couples on how to look amazing and feel comfortable in their photographs? Dress comfortably. Be yourself. Don’t think about the camera. Talk to your photographer.
With so much great talent in the wedding industry, can you name five professionals you adore working with right now? Videography: 25 West Weddings, Band: High Society, Wedding Planner: Shannon Gail, DJ: Spin Chicago, Decor: Birch House Market
Do you have a favorite first dance song and why? Bon Iver’s Beth/Rest (Rare Book Room version), when played it changed the mood of the entire room.
One thing you’d like every bride and groom to know before their wedding? Don’t stress over shot lists. You’ll realize everything you want is what will happen on your day, and you can’t plan for that.
Where do you want to shoot next? Florence, Italy
What are looking forward to most right now? Making new and fresh imagery, refining the entire experience, and traveling more.
Do you have a favorite wedding story? Sam and Eric’s wedding story is one of our favorites. We got to be a part their journey every step of the way. From the surprise proposal at The Rink at Rockefeller, to their (now Pinterest famous) Paint War engagement session, to the wedding day at St. James Farm. They trusted us to tell their story and participate creatively within it. In the end, we all had a really great experience with one another that we’ll never forget. Check out their story though in this video, and we dare ya not to cry!