Claire isn’t any wedding photographer. She’s my wedding photographer. She’s even the one who introduced me to Monique.
We met her in 2011. Claire was freshly out of college and had just moved to New York to become a wedding photographer.
I immediately fell in love with her style. Her photos were so far removed from what traditional French wedding photography looked like back then. There was a “lifestyle blog” vibe to her shots – they were unposed, cool – she seemed to capture magical moments without the bride and groom even noticing.
Luck (or fate) had my boyfriend dropping down on one knee just a few months after I met her. By then, Claire and I had gotten to know each other and there was no question of who our wedding photographer would be. That year, Monique got married on her farm near Angers and Claire captured every special moment.
The young American globetrotter shot her first weddings in France and continues to travel the world for weddings: Spain, Italy, the UK, Morocco, Poland, Iceland, Croatia, and the US, of course. And she won’t stop there. Her dream is to shoot a wedding in a national park in Tanzania, surrounded by wild animals.
Do you have a photography mentor ?
To be honest, I’ve never been super tuned into the photo world. Photography is still a male dominated profession, and I find myself uninterested in obsessing over the many men photographers crowned “best” in a woman centric wedding industry. It’s my women entrepreneur friends in all creative disciplines whom I admire and find most inspiration from – chefs, actors, designers, musicians. I know them personally, I know their struggles, drive, talent.
When and how did you start your business ?
In 2010 in University, I posted photos of my girlfriends twirling in the forests of Flagstaff, Arizona. When people reblogged my work I always sent a thank you. By sheer luck one of those people happened to be a French fashion blogger starting a new wedding site, she asked if I had any weddings she could feature. I said yes, staged a fake wedding in the ponderosa pines that weekend and sent them to Paris with no explanation, hoping no one would ask questions. Elodie was kind enough to feature the wedding, and my work as a whole, and then voilà – I was suddenly an international wedding photographer available in France.
What was your proudest moment as a wedding photographer ?
My first appearance in Brides Magazine was admittedly, pretty cool. But I’m most proud of my ability to hustle after a couple rough years of business and life. I wasn’t sure if I could ever truly live and work solely as a photographer again, but it seems to be happening.
Do you have any advice for brides and grooms looking for a wedding photographer?
Besides the rings, and your significant other, the photos are the only thing from your day that will last a lifetime. Book the photographer whose work you love. Think about those party favors, and extra decorations, and how that money could go to beautiful photographs to enjoy forever. Also, hire someone you want to hang out with, you’re going to spend a lot of intimate time together at your wedding.
How does community and social media play a role in your business ?
I get a lot of work from friends of past clients who find me on Facebook and Instagram. I doubt you could even run a business without Instagram these days. I contribute to a couple blogs and magazines, most often Brides Magazine and Bridal Musings – which generates a lot of bookings.
How do you like being a New Yorker?
Oh man, I love it. With all the difficulties and snow trash piles it brings me pride to say I’m a New Yorker. We’re a tough, innovative, diverse bunch and surviving in this unforgiving city gives me a sense of accomplishment on it’s own. I love that on any given night I could run into friends, stumble into a comedy show, see any live music, and eat anything I want. We’re truly spoiled here.
What’s your favorite place to eat in New York ?
Uncle Boons for Northern Thai in Nolita, La Superior for tacos in Williamsburg.
And your favorite place to shop ?
Frankie and Reformation in LES. Awoke Vintage, Stella Dallas and 10 Foot Single in Williamsburg.
What is your favorite place on earth ?
The Big Island of Hawaii, there is no place more wild, rugged and beautiful that I’ve ever seen.
What makes you happy?
Traveling, getting out in the true wilderness. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest and while NYC is an amazing city, the East Coast lacks the grandeur of the West. I’m truly happy in the mountains with horses.