Q- Vincent & Elizabeth, from reading your bios, both of your careers are in journalism. How did you move towards shooting weddings?
A- Kicking and screaming, sort of. Elizabeth and I avoided shooting weddings forever. Being photojournalists, we had no interest in shooting weddings. For real. We were documented real world events, big time sports, human interest stories and world leaders. Weddings seemed hokey. Pictures of wedding rings on cupcakes. Bridal parties jumping in unison on a bridge. Endless posing. Crazy mother-in-laws. No way, Jose.
Q- What changed ten years ago?
A- We were having a baby! And we quickly realized that the newspaper world, with it’s crazy hours and low pay, was going to present a giant problem. We needed to make extra cash to pay for diapers. We were asked constantly to shoot weddings and we would always turn them down. A few months before Andrew was born, someone noticed our work in the paper and asked us to shoot their wedding. We explained that as long as we could tell a story and not do goofy portraits, we’d consider it.
We learned that we could tell stories with weddings. Real, emotional, funny and touching. It’s why we got into journalism to begin with. We were stunned that we loved it. The following year, we had 25 weddings booked. Two years later, Elizabeth and I both left our jobs to work 100% on Elizabeth Vincent Photography. Ten years, 320 weddings and two more kids later, here we are!
Q- There are about four gazillion wedding photographers to choose from in Pittsburgh. What makes you different?
A- The mistakes that we were fortunate to make in the newspaper world. I got ten years, and Elizabeth about eight years, of daily shooting on the widest swath of assignments possible before we ever shot a wedding. It molded us to be able to shoot in any type of situation, in any lighting, with the most difficult of subjects. I would say most wedding photographers start out shooting weddings and make their mistakes with their clients. We made our biggest, our most painful mistakes, before we ever shot a wedding. That experience is our greatest advantage.
Q- You don’t list any awards on your website. Have either of you won any photography awards?
A- Between Elizabeth and I, we have won just about every wedding photography and photojournalism award, often multiple times, aside from the Pulitzer. Maybe someday. Awards are nice but pretty inconsequential to us. What matters to us is this. Testimonials.
Q- Alright, let’s talk about my wedding. My fiancé hates having his picture taken. He doesn’t like to pose. Is that a problem.
A- We love your fiancé. He is very much like a majority of our grooms. That’s one of the reasons why we get along so well with them. Tell him that he gets to be himself. Enjoy the day. We document it in a creative, unobtrusive way that tells your story without pulling and prodding. The only time you’ll really be aware of the cameras is during the family group session and the creative portraits, and during this time we will guide you through everything. You can just be yourselves, and we will take care of the rest.
Q-Speaking of that, I don’t see any family portraits on your site. Do you and Elizabeth shoot family portraits?
A- We sure do. They are an important part of your family history. We chose not to display any on our site because there is nothing truly unique and emotional if they aren’t your photographs. Our approach to family portraits is to do them well and to do them quick. Nobody enjoys a long, drawn out family portrait session. We have actually received hugs from groomsmen because the session went so smoothly and quickly. There isn’t any reason why we couldn’t do the entire family session in 30 minutes.
Q- We are looking for two photographers. How can I be sure it will be Elizabeth and Vincent at our wedding and not someone that you would hire out?
A- That’s another one of our big advantages. Most photographers that offer two shooters have an inexperienced shooter as their second photographer. Often it’s a student, hobbyist or an uninspired spouse that is dragged along. It doesn’t make sense for them to hire a seasoned, experienced photographer because they would be too expensive and probably already booked.
We are the only two photographers, and we both come with twenty years of experience. You wouldn’t get a “second” shooter, you will get two first shooters. That point cannot be overstated when it comes to the quality of your photography and the ease in which we work together. There is no substitute for experience!
Q- Would you need a “shot list” for our wedding?
A- Aside from the formal family portraits, we do not. If you love our photographs, working from a shot list is counterproductive to creating those images. The great majority of the images we shoot are in the moment, natural photographs that require no prompting or posing. Real moments that reflect your personalities and relationships. a
A shot list actually impedes that progress. Instead of looking for the moments as they occur, we are looking at a shot list. What happens is that we miss all of those great, storytelling photographs because we are following a list. It doesn’t work well at all with our style and approach.
Q- How far in advance would we need to book you?
A- Most of our couples secure their date with us around year before their wedding date. It’s not uncommon for them to book us up to 18 months in advance. We’ve also had couples with fantastic timing that booked an open date just a few months before their wedding. We even had a couple hire us on the Wednesday before a Saturday wedding! I would not recommend being that daring, though!
We are fortunate that our couples seem to have an immediate connection with us and our work, and tend to secure the date soon after talking or meeting with us.