#everoursafterhours serves as a learn the “why” behind their work, to get to know photographers and videographers that are the game changers or ones that in their tiny little corner of the earth are just getting it done.  i have always, ALWAYS, prided myself on the that community that i have the fortunate experience of knowing and featuring.  for the past five years, i have surrounded myself with such a beautifully talented community of wedding photographers and videographers.  so i’m just going to build on that this year and give them the spotlight they deserve.  i’ll be highlighting photographers almost every week.  but obviously if i have the time, i’ll be featuring more but it’s all dependent on the photographers who have the time to answer too.  it’ll be up on Sundays and it’ll just be a chance for photographers to kick back after shooting a wedding, grab a coffee, and have a lazy Sunday read.

today’s #everoursafterhours is with

CAROLINE GHETES

i’m pretty sure i had heard of Caroline in my first year of blogging.  followed her quietly and admired the way she knew how to incorporate and capture more than just the important moments of a wedding day.  there were always a few images where it was just one tiny emotion captured but emoted thousands of feelings when you saw it.  i don’t know how she does it, but she does.  it wasn’t until maybe the past year or so that we have really developed a friendship.  and she’s one of the only people out there who will take my brutal honesty to heart and not get defensive.  i personally like to believe that that kind of quality in a human being, the grace and open-heart to everything, allows her to really pour everything into her work, life, love, and family.  she’s a good one that you need to know about.

so let’s get started…

How did you get your start in wedding photography?

When I was little, I looked through National Geographic magazines and marveled over the images, dreaming that someday I’d be a nature photographer. Later on, I developed a love for clothes and designers and dreamt that someday I’d be a fashion photographer. And for a long time, I obsessed over learning everything there was to know about weather, and I thought I’d be a storm-chasing photographer. Then I realized that would never happen due to my fear of scary storms. Never did weddings cross my mind, but what I’ve always wanted to be when I grew up was behind a camera. I shot my first wedding in 2004 alongside my sister-in-law who was the primary photographer. Initially my intention was to tag along and “have fun”, not realizing that in the process I’d fall in love with doing something I still love doing over a decade later.

What is unique about your style of shooting?

I spend more time observing and less time shooting. I get to know my clients leading up to and even more throughout the wedding day by talking to their family and friends. By staying curious, this helps me understand the people and things that are most important to my bride and groom. It totally influences how and what I shoot throughout the day. I’m a storyteller, and I want my images to be a reflection of what I see, hear and smell.

Include one of your images that is your most recent favorite and explain why you love it.

I can’t tell you how many times people tell me that their wedding photographer refused to take family portraits at a friend or family member’s wedding. Some have even gotten very emotional about it and it makes me sad. If you “don’t do” family portraits on the wedding day because it’s “not my style”. STOP IT. Seriously. You will never know if their mother, father, grandparent, sibling, or friend will die suddenly after the wedding. And if you had the opportunity to take a meaningful portrait of that person but didn’t do it because of your ego, then shame on you.

With that said, when I initially read this question I immediately thought of an image of Fred and his mother. Then I looked through hundreds more just to be sure, but kept coming back to it. This wedding took place in New Jersey last September,and it was one that left a huge impression on my heart. Growing up, my family was not very physically affectionate, and even now I have a hard time showing it to others. So at Kelly & Fred’s wedding, I couldn’t help but notice the constant hugs, the kissing on the cheeks & lips, the holding of each others’ faces, and REALLY looking into each others’ eyes. And this moment between Fred and his mom (during family formals) touched me like few images have. It’s the way she held his face in her hand, the way he looked into her eyes, and the subtle dimples in her chin from holding back the tears. It was an honor for me to witness this. Even more, I am proud to be the one that was able to gift this moment between a loving mother and her son to their families for generations to come.

What do you struggle with the most? Business wise or shooting wise.

I’m easily distracted, a perfectionist to a fault, and terribly hard on myself. This is true in all the areas of my life.

Where do you see wedding photography heading next? Where would like to see it go?

I would love to see wedding photography more focused on the couple and less about “epic” locations. Unless you’re a landscape photographer, don’t let place be the constant focus of every image you share from that collection. For me, I’m more interested in that couple’s connection and story. And I want to see it up close.

If you could send one message to the wedding photography world, what would it be? (Basically, your life motto)

Don’t look for validation from other photographers. You’ll be disappointed if you never gain it. And if you do, you’ll be disappointed with yourself for ever caring in the first place. Make art that really means something to YOU and to YOUR CLIENTS.

What drives you as a person and as a wedding photographer?

As a person, my kids drive me. All four of them. I hope that they grow up and are inspired by my accomplishments (and mistakes) as a parent, photographer, and entrepreneur. I secretly hope they all choose a line of work in the creative field, so by working hard and being successful at what I do, I hope to inspire them to pursue being able to make a living doing what they love as well. And as a photographer, my clients drive me. I’m very particular about who I take on, regardless of money & locations, and “portfolio-worthy” looks. I take time to learn about them, finding out what is most important to them in the wedding process and on the “big day”. By only taking on clients I feel a personal connection with, it keeps me loving what I do.

What makes you confetti throw at the end of the day?

If I can get in 6-8 hours of undistracted work, & make sure the kids are fed (emotionally & physically, lol) I would throw confetti. If I can squeeze a shower in there, cook a meal, and clean, I would bust a confetti cannon.

Caroline, i hope you know how proud i am to call you a friend.  i don’t know how you do it with a family with four kids, but the amount of love you have for them, your work and life itself is motivating in itself.  i hope everyone sees as much as i do.

Caroline travels worldwide capturing the most stunning moments and stories of couples.  see for yourself on HER SITE and HER BLOG.  you’ll get lost for more than a few hours on there in all the glory.