One of the biggest challenges I face as an event designer is the photography. I try my best to capture the flowers and event décor to properly show the mood and feel of an event and let me tell you – it’s hard. Partially, the beauty of flowers is in their transience – a reminder that we must truly appreciate the occasion and the moments around us. Delicate objects of beauty that invoke all senses, yet after a few short days, a memory and a photograph is all that remains.
Ryan Flynn would be the first to tell you that photography is all about capturing the ephemeral – emotion, beauty and joy.
I had the good fortune to meet Ryan when we worked together on a wedding last summer. A young, tall, bald guy with a light bulb grin, he seemed as laid back as they come (a trait I always appreciate in wedding vendors). I went home and checked out his website and was completely blown away. The tall, bald guy happened to take some of the most beautiful pictures that I’ve ever seen. His style is both journalistic and romantic -unique, poetic almost- but what struck me initially was the raw emotion in all Ryan’s photographs. I promptly sent his site link to everyone I knew getting married and informed them that he was worth every penny.
Fast forward a couple of months to the wedding day and as per usual, I took some pictures of the flowers when I delivered them to the gorgeous bride. Then in the chaos of setting up the ceremony site with an arch that wouldn’t stand up a mere fifteen minutes before the ceremony was due to start, I promptly forgot about them. Days later I anxiously waited to see some of Ryan’s photographs of the day and I wasn’t disappointed. They were stunning. Magical. I turned to the pictures I had taken. They were ok – the flowers looked pretty and the lighting was good but they lacked everything in comparison. Emotion.
I hope this interview will give you some insight into Ryan and his work and help you decide upon a photographer as you plan your own event.
F&T: Why do you primarily photograph weddings rather than other events, stills, portraits etc?
RF: Wedding photography sort of combines all those things. I like landscape photography, and other sorts … but at the risk of sounding overly metaphysical, people are an infinitely varied landscape. I just find them much more interesting; and building relationships and connections is vital to me.
F&T: How did you get started in the business?
RF: I got started by second shooting for other photographers, before venturing out on my own.
F&T: What kind of training have you had?
RF: No formal schooling. I learned by asking a lot of questions, making mistakes, and taking a lot (a LOT) of photos. I looked to other super talented photographers for inspiration, too.
F&T: What have been your biggest challenges in starting your own business?
RF: Finding my style and vision has been a challenging process, one that never really ends. Other than that, the mundane organizational and administrative tasks are vexing to me. That and the amount of computer work (shooting is about 10% of what I do).
F&T: What was the craziest thing that has happened at a wedding you worked?
RF: I’ve been incredibly lucky, in that I haven’t seen any major drama or disasters. Probably because I have great clients! Although I wish I had some funny tales to tell…
F&T: Which wedding most stands out over the last year and why?
RF: It’s so hard to pick just one. I was honored to shoot the wedding of one of my closest friends and his new wife. The venue was great, the weather perfect, attractive couple, etc. What made it stand out to me was how it felt to watch them commit their hearts to each other. It was one of those times where the love and joy were totally palpable. That and her father-daughter dance … I might have had tears in my eyes. That day reminded me why I’m a photographer.
F&T: What kind of design details most stand out to you when you photograph a wedding?
RF: When all the aspects of the wedding design flow together in a cohesive style/theme, it really stands out. The flowers, the colors, lighting design … they can all come together to really affect and set the mood for the day. One doesn’t dominate another, rather it supports the others. You can tell when it was thought out and planned from a holistic standpoint like that. That said, a great pair of shoes and perfect flowers are always a good call.
F&T: What do brides need to consider when hiring a photographer and preparing for their wedding photographs on the day?
RF: You should be comfortable with your photographer, and really be able to connect with them as a person. That trust and comfort make everything easier. The photographs are an investment you’ll be looking at for decades to come … if they’re important to you, make a talented photographer a top priority. Also, think about the light! Good light is your best friend. If possible, allow some free time to make portraits when the light is best. Beyond that …just be yourself. Be happy. Enjoy yourself and the beginning of this adventure!
F&T: How would you describe your photography style?
RF: I tell stories with photographs. I want my photographs to move and immerse people. I document moments and emotions, along with shooting some stylish portraits.
F&T: What are your favorite shoot locations in the Seattle area?
RF: I really like Herban Feast Sodo, and Pravda Studios. Around Seattle is some amazing scenery, and there are some resorts and venues that put you right in the middle of that… Alderbrook Resort comes to mind.
F&T: If you could get paid to go anywhere in the world, where would you most like to shoot a destination wedding?
RF: Shooting in Italy would be a dream come true. I wouldn’t mind going back to Ireland to shoot, either!
F&T: What makes a great photograph?
RF: Emotional impact. There’s a lot that goes into that. Or it can be dead simple. But a great photograph makes you feel something … the more powerful, the better.
To view more of Ryan’s work check out his website at www.ryanpflynn.com and his blog at http://ryanpflynn.com/blog/