Are you planning a wedding in the Metro Atlanta Area or better yet, a destination wedding and you haven't decided on a wedding photographer yet...look no further. Let me introduce you to Georgia's own - Susan Crutchfield. After meeting her, I think you will be calling her up to book your wonderful day. If you have been following our blog series - A Bride's Story, you may recognize Susan's name. She will be photographing our own bride - Amber's wedding in November and you will get a look then at some of her great photos. But Susan is such a talented photographer, that I didn't want you have to have to wait that long to meet her, so read on to find out more.
Susan, I love your logo. What is the backstory?
Thank you! I worked closely with Scott Fuller of The Studio Temporary to come up with the perfect logo. The logo is representative of an old film camera that I have in my office. If you are in front of the camera the three elements that stand out are two circles and a square and my logo is the same. A lot of photographers have cameras in their logo and I wanted to be different and not have an actual camera. Scott did an amazing job in listening to my story and creating the perfect logo.
I read on your website that from the instant you picked up your dad's 35 mm film camera a whole new world opened up for you. What made you decide to turn your love for photography into a business?
I have been taking pictures ever since I can remember. My dream growing up was to be a photographer. I still remember the impatience of having to wait two weeks for my prints to come back. When I went off to college they did not offer a photography program that didn’t include a lot of drawing classes which I was just terrible at. I ended up getting my degree in Sport Management and worked in sports for years. When I was laid off my from sports job in 2008 I decided to pick the camera back up. I had a wonderful teacher and mentor in Josh Lamkin of Josh Lamkin Photography and with my family’s support and encouragement in 2010, I decided to open my own business. I wanted to share my passion of capturing these beautiful moments and happy families with other people.
How many weddings do you shoot a year?
I shoot a very limited amount of weddings per year. I never want to be the photographer shooting 50 weddings a year. I give each of my brides and grooms a special, customized experience and I want to be more then just their wedding photographer. I am available to help them plan their wedding. I usually put the entire timeline of their day together. I also help them with other aspects of the day by coordinating with other wedding vendors. A lot of my brides have never been involved in planning a wedding so I let them know they can lean on me for support and questions.
Susan, I love that idea. With that in mind, what types of packages do you offer? Do you offer and engagement package and a wedding date shoot?
At the moment I offer one package. I find a lot of package options can get confusing and most packages are based on time. I am there to tell the story of the couple’s day and I can’t tell it properly if I am not there beginning to end so I offer full day coverage. I am usually there from when the bride is getting ready to when they depart for the night. My package does include an engagement shoot. I think the engagement shoot is very important. This is a good “trial run.” It is a great way of getting the bride and groom relaxed in front of the camera as well as getting comfortable with me. It’s just a fun time to hang out and get some really sweet photos of a time they will always look back on and smile. I do not offer a bridal shoot as I have never had much interest in having one from any of my clients but it is definitely something I could add on if someone was interested.
What is your process? Do you meet the brides beforehand?
I definitely meet with the brides beforehand. I usually try to meet in person before they even book me. I like to show them the albums and let them see and touch them so they know exactly what they are getting. My package comes with an 8x11 album and a 5x7 parent album so I want them to see exactly what they are going to get. I usually encourage them to meet with several other photographers as well. It is very important to pick a photographer you are comfortable with and that you get along with. After all this is the person who will be by your side that day more then anyone else. After they book me, I make sure to stay in contact with the couple leading up to the wedding to help in any way I can. I really enjoy getting to know all the wonderful couples I have photographed. And it is really exciting when I get to photograph their babies when they have them.
How do you send your files to your brides?
After I carefully cull and edit the photographs I send the brides an online album with their proofs. They can send and share this with their friends and family. It is a private album so only the people with the link can view it. Once they have approved the proofs I send them a USB drive with their files. They get two sets of files one for printing and one sized for website use.
Do you work with a second shooter?
I do offer an option to add a second shooter. Some couples like having a second there to stay with the groom the whole time and just get some extra shots.
What is your favorite part of the business?
My favorite part of my business is the wonderful people I have met. I am a part of some really special times in people’s lives whether it is a wedding or a newborn baby. They trust me with these incredible memories and I don’t take that lightly. I love getting to know people not just the couple but all their wonderful friends and family. And I love weddings! I always have and so I really love to be a part of a wedding.
What is your favorite type of venue to shoot?
The great outdoors! I love shooting outside on a beautiful day. Knock on wood I have been lucky and never had rain during a ceremony. I shot a wedding last year under a 100 year old oak tree in an open field and it was just amazing.
What trends do you see with your current brides?
In my area I have seen a lot of casual weddings with country flair. The barn wedding was definitely at the top of the list.
If you could tell the brides one thing about your business, what would it be?
I love telling stories with my camera. I love capturing the emotion, happiness, and love of a wedding day. You are going to remember it for years to come not only because it was such a special day but because I am going to make sure to document all of those wonderful moments that make up the wedding day.
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