Denver, Colorado Photographer
http://jlaplante.com/ email@example.com (303) 868-5705
Q: How did you get your start and why did you choose wedding photography as a career?
A: I’ve worked as a professional photographer for more than a decade. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in photojournalism and started out in the newspaper industry. In the summer of 2008, I started shooting weddings on the side and absolutely loved it. I was able to visit new places, meet new people, and was granted a very important and personal role in what was the arguably the most joyful day of their lives. Plus, I started getting a ton of compliments on my work and how it was different from typical wedding photography. So when my wife, Moira, and I moved to Colorado that fall, I decided to make wedding photography my full-time career; we started J. La Plante Photo and never looked back.
Q: How would you describe your style of photography?
A: The easy answer is to say we’re photojournalistic wedding photographers. Shooting weddings is very similar to shooting events for newspapers, and much of the technique I developed as a professional photojournalist has carried over to our wedding photography style. I’m also big on doing a handful of editorial-style portraits at every wedding to make for a more balanced shoot. But style is more specific than that. Vibrant lighting, rich color, dramatic angles, genuine emotion and beautiful backdrops (a must-have for Colorado Weddings) all go into our style. And putting all of those ingredients together in a unique way that hasn’t been done before is our ultimate goal.
Q: What do you offer to clients that is unique?
A: I’ve worked for years to cultivate a very specific style that is different from any other wedding photographer in Colorado. Moreover, I try to make every wedding shoot completely different. Even if we’ve photographed multiple weddings at the same location, my goal is to never duplicate an image, which helps keep things fresh and interesting. When you hire J. La Plante Photo, you know you’ll be receiving a collection of images that is unique to you and nobody else. It’s tough to put into words, but our Colorado wedding photography gallery will give you a better feel for what.
Q: What advice would you give a bride who is looking for a wedding photographer?
A: Start out by whittling it down to a handful of wedding photographers whose style you like. Then do your due diligence. Read reviews online. Contact references. Ask to see an entire wedding shoot (or five) from beginning to end. Once you’re ready, meet up with the photographers on your shortlist to talk in more detail and see which would be the best fit for you. Our blog post “10 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Wedding Photographer” on our Colorado Wedding Photographer website addresses this exact topic in greater detail.
Q: How important is it to hire an experienced wedding photographer?
A: It’s vital. We frequently hear something along the lines of, “My uncle’s an awesome landscape photographer and says he’ll shoot our wedding for free.” He very well might be an awesome landscape photographer, but wedding photography is a whole different animal, with tons of pressure, tricky logistics and even trickier lighting conditions. We all know the saying about it taking 10,000 hours of practice to master a skill. Wedding photography is no exception.
Q: What's your favorite part of the wedding day to photograph?
A: My absolute favorite part of the wedding day is taking nighttime portraits. Not every wedding photographer does this, but I try to do at least a few cool night shots of the couple at every wedding. The timeline of most weddings is such that you’ll almost certainly be taking the bulk of your couple’s portraits in midday sun, which is far from ideal. After the sun goes down, however, your photographer has exponentially more creative control over his or her lighting, which will pay dividends when you receive all of your photos after the wedding. Not to mention, it gives the couple a chance to take a quiet moment away from the party to breathe and take everything in. Check out a collection of my favorite Colorado Wedding Photos to see what I mean.
Q: What are your top tips for brides to help them get great photos on their wedding day?
A: The best way to ensure your wedding photographer gets great photos on your wedding day is simply to relax and enjoy yourself. Don’t worry about the centerpieces being perfect or your dress staying absolutely spotless or the ceremony and reception starting exactly on time. Weddings rarely follow the plan, but that’s okay! It’s your wedding’s eccentricities that will make it unique and your only focus should be having an awesome time with your new husband or wife. Check our blog post “How to be Comfortable in Front of the Camera” on our Denver Wedding Photographer website for more tips.
Q: What are some of your favorite local venues?
A: There are too many exceptional wedding venues in Colorado to count, so it’s tough to pick favorites, but here are a handful of highly photogenic venues that we’ve enjoyed shooting in the past.
Devil’s Thumb Ranch Wedding, Tabernash
Beaver Creek Lodge Wedding, Avon
Lion Square Lodge Wedding, Vail
Planet Bluegrass Wedding, Lyons
Mile High Station Wedding, Denver
Aspen Meadows Resort Wedding, Aspen
Spruce Mountain Ranch Wedding, Larkspur
Copper Mountain Wedding, Summit County
Black Canyon Inn Wedding, Estes Park
Della Terra Wedding, Estes Park
Wild Basin Lodge Wedding, Allenspark
Wiens Ranch Wedding, Sedalia
Dunafon Castle Wedding, Evergreen
Hotel Boulderado Wedding, Boulder
Rembrandt Yard Wedding, Boulder
Q: Do you offer albums? If so, describe the albums you offer and why you think it's important to provide albums.
A: Absolutely. In this day and age, we spend a great deal of time looking at our phones and computer screens, so when it comes time to look through your wedding photos, it’s nice to have a tangible item that you can pick up and hold and view the photos the way in which they were meant to be viewed. We offer a variety of albums, both magazine-style and flush mount, in a variety of sizes. We also offer metal gallery prints, which are very vibrant and striking, and ready to hang right out of the box. We have a bunch of them hanging on our own walls at home!
Q: What (or who) inspires you?
A: I tend to get a lot of my wedding photo ideas while watching movies. I’ll see a certain camera angle, or composition, or lighting scheme and think, “Hm. How could I incorporate that at our wedding this weekend?”
Q: What would you say was the biggest reason for your success?
A: Early on, I chose not to chase what other photographers were doing in terms of style, just to pursue the largest and trendiest market. I’ve spent years working to cultivate very specific style and have utilized it consistently over time. I think that has a lot to do with our success with wedding photography. I could also point to our drive. No matter how good you are at what you do, there will always be someone more talented, or more business-savvy, or better connected within the industry. For the most part, you can’t control any of that. The only thing you can control is how hard you work. I try to do my best to remember that each day.
Q: What's the best photography-related advice you've been given?
A: I can’t remember who told me this, but it has stuck with me for years: “Focus on your own work and good things will happen.” It can be unhealthy to spend too much time comparing yourself to others, so it’s important to keep your nose to the grindstone and not get too caught up in what other photographers are doing. This goes for both the creative side of photography as well as the business side.
Q: What is the biggest challenge facing wedding photographers today?
A: I would say it’s the fact that everyone has a decent camera these days. Not because that puts them in a position of competition or anything like that, but solely for the fact that people love to take photos at weddings, and when there are 50 amateur photographers milling about during the ceremony or reception, it can be difficult to stay on schedule and get all of the shots you need to capture.
Q: Do you follow any photography or business blogs that you would recommend?
A: Indeed. Strobist and MagMod are great for behind-the-scenes info on how to use off-camera flash. And, of course, my own Colorado wedding photography blog, which has dozens of informational articles for brides and photographers alike!
Q: What do you do for fun when you're not shooting weddings?
A: I don’t have a ton of free time from May to October, but I ski as much as I can in the winter. I watch a lot of movies and read a lot of books. I love to travel; I’ve been to 15 foreign countries and all 50 United States. I’m a big craft beer nerd, so I love visiting all the new breweries around Colorado. And I’m a bit of an amateur screenwriter; I try to write one script per year – everything from comedies to dramas to thrillers.
I’ve worked as a professional photographer for more than a decade. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in photojournalism and started out in the newspaper industry. During that time, I shot everything from criminal court trials to Detroit Pistons games (I’m originally from Michigan); structure fires to beauty pageants; congressional debates to high school football games on Friday nights. Every day was a new challenge; every assignment a new learning opportunity. My time as a photojournalist taught me to be resourceful and to think on my feet, which has proven invaluable for wedding photography.
In the summer of 2008, I started shooting weddings on the side and absolutely loved it. I was able to visit new places, meet new people, and was granted a very important and personal role in what was the arguably the most joyful day of their lives. Plus, I started getting a ton of compliments on my work and how it was different from typical wedding photography. People would tell me that they could spot one of my photos from a mile away without having to be told who the photographer was – that I was beginning to cultivate a very specific style. So when Moira and I moved to Colorado that fall, I decided to make wedding photography my full-time career; we started J. La Plante Photo and never looked back.
When I’m not behind the lens, you can probably find me on the slopes. Skiing is one of the main reasons I moved west. I’m also obsessed with the music scene out here. Red Rocks is by far the coolest venue I’ve ever been to. I’m a craft beer nerd, a movie buff, an amateur screenwriter and an avid reader of both fiction and non-fiction alike. And I love to travel. I’ve been to 15 foreign countries and all 50 United States. I drove all over the American West before deciding to settle in Colorado, where I immediately fell in love with the state’s blend of urban and outdoor lifestyles. The proximity of Denver to the mountains felt too good to be true and now, eight years later, it still feels that way. I can’t imagine a more perfect setting for a wedding photographer.
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