Photography by Jo
Staunton Virginia Wedding Photographer with 8+ years’ experience photographing weddings in VA, MD, DC
Personal, Meaningful wedding photography
In 2016, I had photographed about five weddings. I was marketing myself as a wedding photographer and thought I knew everything I needed to know to plan my own wedding without help, without a planner, without a florist. I was incredibly wrong. But you know what, I got married, I had fun, I learned some things, and we have great photographs. And now, I have this perspective and experience to help me help you.
My experience as a bride inspires the Photography by Jo wedding experience.
The way my photographer delivered my wedding gallery opened my eyes to what wedding photography really means to people. I thought it would help my photographer to make detailed request lists, a thorough timeline, or list out every last family member. But the photographs I adored most weren’t on any checklist or Pinterest inspiration board. They happened naturally, often without me noticing. And the story that unfolded when I got to my reception photographs was more beautiful than I remembered!
Seeing the way my father-in-law laughed with his whole body and held his wife for their last child’s wedding was such a gift. We have photographs of my brother and now-sister-in-law slow dance three years before we knew she was joining the family for real. The last year that my niece and nephew still had a little baby fat in their cheeks and were entertained by knock-knock jokes are captured in those photographs. The images bring me back to that season.
Introducing a truly personal approach to wedding photography
My grandmother photographed weddings in her 20’s and 30’s. I’d say it runs in the family, but it’s so much more than that! She sees the world through such a unique and valuable perspective. I could pick her brain on the boxes of photographs that fill her home for endless hours. She has traveled to 49 states, seen many countries, experienced a full life of raising wild boys and being a single parent in an age when that was nearly unacceptable. If that weren’t enough, she’s given just about all of her time to others–building a free medical and dental clinic just outside of Atlanta, taking the remains of estate sales to the homeless population to cloth them, and practically starting an SPCA in her home to make sure the local strays found new homes. She’s precious in every sense.
So, when she gifted me her old film cameras and bought me my first DSLR for high school graduation, I was inspired to try to make this wedding photography thing the real deal. I poured all my time into creative photography projects and attempting to find more clients. If I could go back and tell myself one thing, it would be to stop selling so hard, and just serve people, listen, and be open to new connections and experiences.
Meaningful, narrative photography
Photography to me is about storytelling and meeting people where they are. There’s an art and personalized approach to it. But mostly we’re there to listen and pay attention. It does my clients no good for me to photograph their most precious moments in a way that I personally THINK is important to them. My values aren’t identical to theirs. Instead, it’s my role to LISTEN to what they value, how they feel, and what they expect. Only then can I give them a gallery of meaningful memories. We only get one chance to capture a wedding day. It’s my responsibility to make sure I recognize that and honor my clients through my work.