Tell us a little about yourself (family, background, pets, hobbies, etc.). What do you do when you’re not behind a camera?
creative. father. lover. believerI grew up on a dairy farm. It was the greatest childhood a kid could ask for, but I knew very early on that I was called serve people.My love for
is what drew me to the art of making them. My personal family photo albums are priceless and have helped shape my appreciation and value for life and family.It has been an incredible blessing to pursue my calling and love for others through photography. Being able to tell authentic stories through timeless photographs is part of the WHY I get out of bed each morning, but it is bigger than that. As
of five, I don’t really get a choice. My children have shown me how precious and fleeting life is. In the
controlled chaos that is our life, I am reminded of the BIG PICTURE through small intimate moments we so often forget without the help of photographs. I am reminded to be THANKFUL for everything I have been given.I believe that God can use something as simple as a photograph to repair a marriage, enhance a family, or tell a story nearly forgotten.My wife and I met through a church youth group when we were 12 & 13 – she’s older. She stalked me ever since. We were married in 2007 after years of friendship filled with long distance phone calls and many hours spent in cars and churches. Our family has grown over the past 6 years of marriage and we truly believe that love conquers all things.When I am not behind a camera, I usually in front of a computer or wearing the hat of fatherhood. I enjoy biking, swimming, travel, and staying in shape. I am currently enrolled in Graduate School, so more than likely I am studying or reading something. We love to learn.
Did you study photography in school? If not, what did you study and what desire created / drove your passion towards photography?
I took a few courses when I was in University, however, it was my high school media class that really sparked my interested beyond simply taking photographs. My father was a photographer and a collector of all things camera related. To this day, he still collects old film cameras. In addition to getting my hands on a camera at an early age, it was the influence of my grandfather’s art that pushed me to create. His artwork is all over my family’s walls and it is a pleasant reminder that art enriches life in the simplest of ways.
How long have you been a photographer, and when did you get into weddings? Did you get start doing weddings, or did you work thru other photography first?
I shot my first wedding in 2004, right before the real digital age. I captured it on 35mm film. Needless to say, I am so thankful for digital, but still appreciate the simplicity of film and the aesthetic that goes along with it. Hope to someday return to shooting film.My wife and I started photographing weddings together in 2008 and formally started our LLC in 2010 as our full-time profession. I have always enjoyed photographing people. I have a fascination with faces. I like to believe I never forget a face 🙂
How would you describe your style? What/who has influenced your style?
Our style starts in camera; we are dedicated to creating an image in camera rather than in a computer. Our images tend to have a light organic feel to them which is influenced by our love for film. We are drawn to things that are vibrant and light, but we have a special place in our hearts for Black & White. The timeless feel of black and white images are what I am consistently drawn to.fun.fresh.creativeWe absolutely love barn weddings, much like our own! We like when our faces hurt after photographing two people desperately in love. We are fueled by moments filled with laughter and genuine emotion that ooze FUN in every way. We want the images we capture to feel FRESH and original having an organic feel. The combination of documenting and stylizing allows us to blend the art of photojournalism and fine art photography. We push ourselves to be CREATIVE and if that means risking getting a little dirty or standing from a balcony, so be it. Together our style combined with your unique personality creates timeless images and memories you will cherish for a lifetime!
Do you have a studio/office or do you mainly work from home?
We currently work out of our home, however, in the future we would love to have a barn studio.
Do you have a partner in crime (associate, regular second shooter, etc)?
My wife, Katie, is my partner in EVERYTHING! So thankful to have her capture life right alongside me.nurturer. dreamer. wife. storytellerKatie is a loving mother to our five children and the love of my life . We have been best friends for nearly fifteen years and married for six. It might go without saying, but I think she is pretty great! She has been blessed with creative talents and ambition that are seemingly infinite. Katie has devoted herself to motherhood and providing home-based education for our children, which has been both our greatest challenge and greatest reward in parenting.Her sewing machine and camera compete for her spare free-time affections; it is her joy to create the majority of our custom handmade packaging. Katie’s kitchen is her office – where she spoils us with Country Living recipes and healthful crockpot meals. She enjoys being a wallflower on a wedding day and capturing quiet unseen moments. Life through her telephoto lens is much different than my own; with an eye for details and heartfelt emotion, her images add variety and a female perspective, which greatly compliment our style as fine art storytellers.We could not function as a household without her talent and endless support to our family and our business. Her personal sacrifice and dedication to our marriage make capturing life our beautiful reality. We are thankful to be living out our purpose each day as we strive to serve others with the gifts we have been given.1 Peter 4:10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:
What’s your go-to camera / lenses? What equipment (and backup equipment) do you travel with for a shoot? Digital or film?
Canon 5D MIII 50mm 1.2We have 2 other 5D MII Bodies. We travel with a full studio lighting setup for our formal shots which most often take place in ill lit churches.
How much editing do you do, and how does that influence your style?
We use LR 5 and CS6 for all of our images. We want our images to be light but still sharp. We use very few actions in our editing and focus on curve corrections and exposure. We are minimalists at heart and I think that comes across in our simple, yet beautiful images.
Do you have any awards or recognition that we and our readers should know about?
Our images have won three national contests and have been featured on Wisconsin Bride, A Northwoods Wedding, and several other blogs. We are more client driven then recognition driven, but we are always pumped to see our images published. Especially in print! Our commercial work has been featured in magazines both in the US and the UK.
What wisdom or encouragement would you like to share with our soon-to-be couples?
Life isn’t perfect, but is sure is beautiful! Let your day be filled with emotion and let the day worry about itself. Love each other harder and stronger each day and let your wedding day be a day you look back and see how much you have grown together. Don’t forget the people at your wedding are your greatest details 🙂
Shout Out to Awesome Wedding Services:
We love our local businesses here in Medford, Wisconsin and Central Wisconsin:
The Wedding Gallery Medford
Bella Zenn Salon Spa and Eco Boutique
The Veranda (wedding venue in Central WI)
Munson Bridge (wedding venue in Central WI)
www.jamesstokesphotography.com | firstname.lastname@example.org