Every year we recognize the Two Bright Lights Editors’ Choice Platinum Circle winners, those members who rank as the top 10 most published for that year. These rockstars know exactly what it takes to craft the perfect submission, and each month we will be sharing their tips with you!
First up is two time Platinum Circle winner, Andie Freeman Photography. Andie was published more than 250 times this year alone! So without further ado…
Located in Athens, Georgia, Andie Freeman Photography is a boutique photography studio specializing in wedding, editorial, and newborn portraiture. Andie began her career as a motorcycle photographer, changing to portraits and weddings after her daughter was born. Currently, she is expanding to work more with styled shoots in the wedding industry as well as magazines and fashion designers. She is mom to Zoe, wife to an ex-pat Brit husband, Sean, and lover of all things feline (mommy of 6 very spoiled, fat, and lazy cats). She and her team are available for travel worldwide.
What made you choose photography as a career?
It was something that I really ended up falling into. I began as a motorcycle photographer shooting track days and biker lifestyle. My husband was a part of that industry and he had bought me my first DSLR. It was a good fit at the time. When I got pregnant with my daughter, morning sickness ran rampant and I put up my camera. When I was 16 weeks pregnant, my husband had a motorcycle accident that nearly took his life. The camera was put up permanently. Four days after the birth of my daughter, my heart failed. To say that photography was the last thing on my mind to say the least. But after I began to feel better, I started taking portraits of my daughter. I said that I would NEVER be a portrait photographer. But here I am! And the rest is history.
What about your work inspires you?
I love the actual shooting process. Recently, I have completely fallen in love with styled shoots. I thoroughly enjoy the behind the scenes planning aspect and then watching my vision come to life.
What is one unexpected thing you’ve learned since you began working as a photographer?
People always tell you as a child and adolescent to do something you love and you’ll never have to go to work. That’s not true. I still have to go to work. There are still days when I just don’t want to do it. But I am sure that I enjoy my job more than many other people.
What is your personal approach to wedding photography?
I strive to tell stories and capture personalities. I want to capture a bride’s personality and a groom’s personality (or bride/bride, groom/groom) and tell a story about their love and their wedding day through images.
Why do you want to be published? How has getting published helped your business?
Honestly? It’s just a lot of fun. I think all photographers crave that recognition. And getting published is a great way to get that. Vendors and venues also love the fact that you work hard to get them seen as well. Getting published has made me so much more known in this area as well as other areas of the country and world. I get requested now for styled shoots for venues hours away from me. I would never have been able to make those types of connections in other ways. That, of course, turns into more real weddings.
How do you use social media to enhance your brand? And how do you share your published features?
Social media is the bane of my existence!! Haha!! It’s so exhausting. But Instagram is one of my main tools. I try to use as many hashtags as possible and tag all vendors involved. Repost makes life so easy.
What makes for submission success? What would you recommend to a first-time submitter?
A successful submission should be unique and trendy. It’s important to follow those trends. If you are a first timer, study publications and the photographers that they feature. Above all, know that not every publication will love your style. But you will find those out there that do. And be sure to treat your vendors like your clients. They put a lot of time, effort and money into creating beautiful styled shoots and real weddings. That deserves great respect.
Give us some of your pro shooting and editing tips!
Don’t sweat the shooting part. Just know that you will get everything done that needs to be. Stress doesn’t make the situation any easier. After all, it is supposed to be fun! Try and capture meaningful images that tell stories. On editing, be sure to keep it clean and vibrant. Vintage washes are outdated now and publications will turn you down because of it more times than not. And then vendors will stop wanting to shoot with you. I have seen it happen. . .
What do you wish you knew when you were just starting out as a wedding photographer?
It will be a job. Treat it like one.
Tell us a little about the images you decided to share!
It is so hard to choose just two [events]. There have been so many amazing ones this year. My favorite is probably my Wedgwood inspired shoot. This shoot was really my baby, from concept to the finished product. I am obsessed with blue and white china and when I stumbled across the Sherri Hill gown that we featured, I knew that it was the perfect gown for that theme. Plus this shoot had some of my favorite friendors involved and I got to work with two of my very favorite models. The styled shoot gods smiled on us that day and it was magic.
My other favorite from this year (and they are really probably on the same level in terms of love) is a real wedding. My husband is British and I was privileged enough to travel there this year to shoot and engagement and wedding. Weddings there are so different than here in the states. It was so much fun. So many of the people that were in attendance were strangers at the beginning of the day, but were people I would call friends by the end of the night. Not to mention that the images were to die for. A medieval church and the Bridge of Sighs at Cambridge? Yes please!!
Want to be a winner next year? Submit today!
Photos courtesy of Andie Freeman Photography.