For today’s ISPWP member spotlight, we feature San Diego wedding photographer Ed Atrero of Atrero Photography.
Ed Atrero Bio:
Ed Atrero, of Atrero Photography, is a multiple award winning wedding photographer with WPJA, FEARLESS photographers, and was named ISPWP Photographer of the Quarter. Ed shot his first wedding in 1998 and began Atrero Photography in 2005 after years of prodding from friends and family. Along the way, Ed caught the teaching bug and became a tireless and dedicated teacher drawing on his over 20 years of photographic experience. Most importantly he enjoys seeing the light bulbs turn on in his students’ heads. He has taught at the renowned Escola De Imagem in Brasil, at a sold out workshop of 65 students at Wedding Brasil, at WPPI in Las Vegas, and most recently at the Foundations Conference in New Orleans along with Jan Garcia. He is also the host of the Shoot Like a NINJA Workshop series based in San Diego. His teaching approach focuses heavily on student critique, image deconstruction, and focus on mastering the fundamentals of photography: seeing light, composition and moment.
How did you get your start and why did you chose wedding photography as a career?
I became a wedding photographer 7 years ago when I first saw work by Australian wedding photographers Yervant and Jerry Ghinois. It was unlike any wedding photos I have seen before and the images looked like they were from the pages of Vogue. After seeing their fashion inspired approach to weddings I was inspired to do my own take on it. Later our style developed more of an artistic documentary feel.
How has your extensive experience in wedding photography helped you in difficult circumstances on a wedding day?
Over the years, I’ve gotten good at “reading” weddings and anticipating moments and where I need to position myself for a shot. I think this lets me worry less about the logistical side of things, so that I can just think more creatively when shooting the standard wedding moments.
What are some of your favorite local venues?
I love shooting at modern San Diego venues as it matches the style of our work, such as the Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego that we shot. There are some great modern venues in La Jolla, such as Scripps Seaside Forum. I’m also big fan of the movie 500 Days and so I really old Hollywood and old Los Angeles architecture and venues such as the Millennium Biltmore and The Vibiana.
What advice would you give a bride who is looking for a wedding photographer?
Spend time looking through a wedding photographer’s portfolio and a few entire weddings. You’ll typically only see 10% or less of a photographers work on a blog from any given wedding. Make sure he or she is covering every aspect of the day, not just reception details and portraits.
What’s your favorite part of the wedding day to photograph?
I love shooting portraits the most as I feel this is the most creative part of the day for me. I feel really bummed whenever I don’t get to shoot enough portraits.
What kinds of weddings do you love to photograph?
I love to party, so weddings with a rowdy party going crowd are my favorite.
What are your top tips for brides to help them get great photos on their wedding day?
Lack of time is one of biggest killers for the day. We’ve been to weddings where hair/makeup or limousine were late by an hour or more, thus compressing the schedule for photos. So brides need to do a lot of due diligence here. Search out recommendations and look at a vendor’s track record to make sure there are no red flags.
How important is it to hire an experienced wedding photographer?
An experienced wedding photographer knows what moments to look for and is always alert to shoot them and and execute the shot well.
What do you find is the biggest challenge in wedding photography?
Out doing the last wedding I shot.
What do you do for fun when you’re not shooting weddings?
I’m usually at my favorite watering hole drinking a craft brew.
How would you describe your style of photography?
What do you offer to clients that is unique? What is your Unique Selling Proposition?
Our local Southern California market suffers from an overabundance of photographers shooting couples in afternoon backlit fields a la Jose Villa. I think our work stands out in a sea of sameness. We offer an artistic documentary approach that we believe very few are doing in our local market.
Do you offer albums? If so, describe the albums you offer and why you think it’s important to provide albums.
We offer wedding albums in our standard collection. They are an heirloom to pass down to generations. A Facebook account won’t be around for 100 years, but an album will.
What (or who) inspires you?
Have you found any products, services, or seminars that have made a difference to your photography or your business?
What’s the best photography-related advice you’ve been given?
This sounds a bit New Age-ish, but it really is true: master the technical aspects of your camera so that it becomes a natural extension of your hands and eyes. This frees you up to think creatively and not worry about the technical aspects while shooting.
What would you say was the biggest reason for your success?
Staying hungry (in a photographic sense). Never being completely satisfied with my work. There’s always more to learn and improve on. Be good at everything.
Do you follow any photography or business blogs that you would recommend?
What future plans do you have for your business for the next year?
I love to teach and recently began offering a series of San Diego photography workshops aimed at beginning and intermediate photographers.
What is the biggest challenge facing wedding photographers today?
There are many talented photographers popping up all the time. Staying ahead of the curve and creating interesting work that stands out is always our biggest challenge. I think the biggest thing that helped us in this aspect of our photography is to seek influences outside of wedding photography such as movies, shows, painting, and of course other genres of photography.
Thanks for the interview Ed! Use the comment section below to ask Ed a question or leave a comment.