Interview: Angelica Glass
Photographer Interview: Angelica Glass
Angelica Glass has frequently appeared on my 100 Best Wedding Photographers in the World lists. Angelica is a courageous photographer whose work is clearly her own. I admire her for following her own artistic path.
Can you briefly tell us a little about your life, where were you born and raised?
I have been a wedding photographer since 2001 and I started my business in 2004. I was born in Florida, but I was raised in Queens, NY. I have a six year old son and we spend our time living in Florida and New York throughout the year.
Have you always been a photographer? What was your path to photography and specifically to shooting weddings?
I have always been a photographer! I recently started a new part time job in my other passion (the beauty industry) and I joked that it was my first "real" job.
I started sneaking in film cameras to concerts in the 90s (wow). At 13, I was published in a nationwide rock magazine for the first time. While finishing college, I got a part time job at a wedding photography studio assisting photographers and designing wedding albums. When a family friend booked the company, they decided to send me to the wedding. The hired main photographer got lost (this was before google maps and iPhones) and I shot the wedding ceremony on my own. I started shooting every weekend after that!
Do you remember the first moment or time a camera/photography jumped out at you as something different/interesting/worth pursuing?
Having dropped out of 'art school' and pursuing a 'regular' degree, I maintained hoped that there would be a way to make money while being creative. I started shooting weddings right at the exact moment that the industry was changing and clients wanted something unique and beautiful and not just 350 boring photos documenting their day. This career allowed me to travel, make money and be creative without being stuck in an office.
Do you have a style or widely understood approach to shooting weddings ie fine-art, documentary?
Most of my clients hire me for a 'journalistic' and 'natural' looking style, but the photos they generally love from me are heavily posed or directed.
What/who do you look at for visual inspiration? It could be a favourite photographer or blog? movies? etc
I follow a few wedding gown Instagrams, but in general I don't look for visual inspiration outside of the actual wedding day. When I arrive at a location I try to take a few moments to circle the area and look at the window light or any light flare that may be peeking through that can create interesting detail shots. The majority of the photos floating around on blogs or wedding Instagrams are stylized shoots and that is absolutely not helpful to me because they were created until perfect conditions and a wedding is anything but that.
What would a perfect day shooting a wedding look like for you?
As cheesy as it sounds, a perfect day involves a sensible couple that is comfortable with each other and in love. You can have the perfect dress, location and lighting and none of that will matter if you have clients that uncomfortable, unhappy and unreasonably stressed out over very minor details. I shot a wedding this weekend and that had a smile on her face from the moment I arrived until the minute I left. She never complained or had anything bad to say. She was so happy to be marrying the love of her life. It was an absolute pleasure to be around them for 9 hours. I have been a wedding photographer since 2001 and these clients are very rare! Haha!
Do you have any sort of routine before a wedding to get yourself into the right frame of mind to achieve that perfect day?
I lay all of my equipment out on my dining table and make sure every thing is there, clean and functioning. I generally do this a day or two before. I also format my cards...I used to not do this and I would arrive at my location and start shooting and then realize I never formatted the cards! I learned my lesson after the 5th or 6th time - haha!
Generally speaking, what do you focus on when you are shooting a wedding, by which I mean, what (this could be anything eg your own artistic satisfaction, the couples emotion, people, details) about a wedding is important for you to prioritize while your shoot?
I don't necessarily prioritize - I take charge of the timeline even if they have a wedding planner to make time for interesting posed formals that my clients like. I photograph the rest of the day as it happens so I don't have to interfere with real emotions.
I often think peoples experiences of marriages, theirs or their parents, can have an impact on their involvement in working in the world of weddings. Can you explain what weddings mean to you personally?
I am the child of 4 marriages/divorces and I have never been married, so I'm not sure how to answer this - haha! My business was also the busiest during a very traumatic breakup which was extremely difficult to be surrounded by people in love. Maybe shooting weddings gives me hope that love does rule and there is always hope for a relationship's longevity. Okay, that was kind of cheesy. :)
In the feedback you've received from wedding clients over the years, would there be one word that keeps popping up again and again?
As much as people think they want journalistic photos, the photos that always win their hearts are photos of family.
Having seen lots of weddings, what would your advice be to a beloved family member if they came to you and said they were getting married and asked for advice on how to approach their wedding day?
KEEP IT SIMPLE!!! That is not to say you shouldn't plan special details, but make your day realistic and fun. I'm closer to 40 than I am to 30 so I am looking at this from a different perspective than a young bride. While you may have a million girlfriends, you don't need all of them in your bridal party. You don't need to go to 3 locations for beautiful and interesting photos. Lastly, the most bang for your buck in transforming a room and your photos is room lighting. This is one vendor I encourage my couples to spend money on because it is transformative!
What three pieces of advice would you give young photographers starting out?
1 - Keep your editing style clean - stay away from trendy filters. I purposely show work that is over ten years old to show clients my work is timeless.
2 - Keep a professional relationship with your clients. It's nice to get along and connect with them...I mean, this is what we do, but its best to always keep it professional. At a point in my career everyone wanted to be my friend, but as soon as I took too long to get a session back or they didn't like a particular photo it was difficult to handle situations like this.
3 - Do not yes your clients to death. The wedding industry is full of yes men - everyone wants to create a fantasy day. Be honest and up front with your clients if something is not possible (eg sunset shots with a day time wedding). Show them work that is applicable to THEIR day. Don't show them your insane wedding in Iceland if they are getting married in a catering hall.