An interview with Photographers Katie and James Stokes
“Looking over our own grandparent’s albums we can sure see how things have changed due greatly to advances in digital photography and computers. Their portraits were done in black and white with oil paints to add a splash of color. This was Photoshop 60 years ago. It was out of necessity that portraits were very staged and formal, often couples would have to visit a studio on their wedding day…”
What is it about candids that make photography so special?
“Candids, much like the word, are honest and raw. They happen without your knowledge and often showcase true emotion that can’t be replicated. Life is full of these moments, but it is the job of a photographer to capture them in a way that stirs an emotion worth remembering. While photography can capture beauty and perfection, true candids can’t be scripted and aren’t without flaws. When we look back at our wedding or our life, we don’t just want to remember the perfect highlights, we want to be see the journey in all fullness, tears and ugly crying included.”
What are the key elements that make for a great photo?
“You could ask one hundred people and get a different answer from everyone, but ultimately beauty is in the eye of the beholder. A soft, blurry, grain-filled photograph of your great grandmother on her wedding may have more value than that of a perfectly crafted image of your half-eaten gourmet sandwich you post on Instagram. That being said, a great photo needs an interesting subject. I happen to really like faces. Second, all photographs need light. We happen to love naturally well-lit images. Like light, color has a way of evoking our emotions and is crucial to telling a cohesive story, but a great photo is one that is relevant now and in 50 years. Timing and composition, while important, vary based on style and personal preference, but placing your subject well within a frame that causes your eye to immediately see what the artist was focusing on is key to creating a great photo. I happen to really like the rule of thirds and the golden spiral.”
What are some of your favorite nontraditional photos/poses to take of couples?
“…My favorite pose is when couples are looking directly into each other’s eyes. You can’t help but smile when you have to look at someone you love, especially on your wedding day. Often this naturally leads to a kiss…”
What’s the best part of being a part of a husband-wife photography team?
“Over the past seven years, we have seen our fair share of weddings and honestly one of my most favorite things is hearing couple dedicate themselves to each other Saturday reminding us of the vows we took in 2007. Furthermore, we just like having the opportunity of spending our days together surrounded by incredible people, beautiful venues, and couples madly in love. Over time we have learned each other’s own personal shooting style and preferences, which have allowed us to simply trust in our strengths and focus on serving our clients well. We truly are a team.”
Any guesses on what the next big trend for wedding photography will be?
“I think that we will continue to see rustic outdoor and barn weddings in the near future, but I think that many couples are looking for ways to break the mold, creating more of a laid back, less traditional feel, sometimes skipping the formal ceremony altogether. We’re seeing couples having a destination wedding from the city and investing in a weekend away with friends and family at lake camps and resorts. They are using the natural beauty of Wisconsin as their backdrop with a minimalist approach contrasting the woodsy canvas with lots of glitter, copper, silver and gold. Couples are looking for unique way for their guests to enjoy themselves throughout the evening and a venue with an open air space with yard games, music, and great food is something we hope to much more of in 2016. Instead of a barn wedding, couples are moving toward lofts, museums, and restaurants for a cohesive urban wedding experience.”
Anything else you’d like to share with couples-to-be?
“Ten years from now very few couples are going to remember what sat on the cake table or what types of flowers were in the center pieces, but they’re going to remember how they felt on their wedding day. We encourage our couples to make time for each other and their loved ones on their wedding day. So often they day is whirlwind of emotions and logistics, but very little time for reflection, meditation and prayer. You’re making the biggest decision of your life on your wedding day and it should be revered and held above all the rest. Invest the time in your marriage with the same fervor as your wedding and remind yourself often of your commitment. Looking back, you may have the most beautiful photographs in the world, but if you don’t have the positive emotions to go with them, they’re worthless.”