Our approach to wedding photography is different. The Clane Gessel studio is a collective of artists that believe every couple should have museum-quality art to remember their most important day.
This begs the question, what makes a truly great photo? It’s a question that plagues photographers and the art industry. Lighting, composition, and technique are just a small part of what makes a great photo. For me, taking a great photo is about capturing the love and emotion that’s there. It’s something we can all relate to, and everyone loves the FEELING of a great photo. In order to evoke emotion, I believe that you have to truly love the subject. I LOVE love, and I LOVE weddings. I know it sounds cliché, but when you’re passionate about your subject, it’s easy to create a narrative.
Clane’s work inducted into the National Geographic Fine Art Galleries nationwide.
When I first started shooting at The Seattle Times more than 10 years ago, I would shoot everything – because that’s what I thought you’re documenting something. After some time of doing this, I realized that it’s not about documenting, it’s about translating. Translating love and the elegance of the wedding into something everyone can relate to and see. There are SO many things that no one would see if I didn’t photograph them, and many of them are intangible. Our goal is to get everyone to feel the same emotions that were there throughout your wedding day, and allowing our couple to relive each moment. These moments show in your work – if you’re consistent and love what you do.
Marble Caves in the National Geographic art gallery
Scoring a huge honor like the cover of National Geographic, one might wonder why I choose to shoot weddings rather than go into the field of landscape and travel photography… The answer is really quite simple. As far back as I can remember, I’ve LOVED love, I’m fascinated with the emotion and bond two people can hold. It’s no surprise that after graduation I eagerly stepped out of the Times’ shadow in search of a spotlight in the world of weddings. I’ve shot in some pretty amazing places, on 6 continents and 30 countries. This world is a magnificent place and I’m so honored to have seen and photographed many of them, but the best honor of all is being able to see love. I view my job as an ongoing conversation with love, and no landscape, no matter how beautiful, can beat that.
Getting great wedding photos comes from a deep knowledge of light and photography.
I love my couples; I love what I do. My goal is to share this love through photography and in turn, make people fall in love with the wedding photos I shoot. Evoking emotion in photography is what takes an image from good to great. In order to feel the emotion of a photo, they need to be able to see the love I have for my work, see the couple’s personalities, so they can connect and relate, maybe even see a bit of themselves in the photos I shoot.
The most important thing for me, when approaching a wedding, is to try to understand what the experience will be for the couple. How they see their big day, and what makes their love special. Understanding the little things between them and their personalities help me capture that every step of the way. It’s why we offer a complimentary engagement shoot – we bond with each couple behind the lens, helping them open up and take natural photos.
I feel fortunate to do what I do every day. I’m so blessed to have a great network in the wedding industry. My team and I approach each wedding as an opportunity to capture art for our couples in a way that no one else can. Other photographers also do a great job; however, our background in landscape photography and being on the cover of National Geographic has taught us to use light in a way no one else does. Understanding landscape photography means a deeper understanding of light, and when you have a better understanding of light, you can take better photos. That’s why you’ve never seen images like this before.
Even though the wedding only lasts a day, your responsibility as a photographer goes so much farther than shooting for one day. You’re telling the most important story of each couple’s lives by capturing their personalities and love on that day. Telling a story not just of the wedding, but of who they are, what draws them together, and what bonds they share. When it comes to telling a love story between two people, the rules bend or even break. Some of my best wedding photos were not technically perfect ones. We must feel something in a photo and have an emotional connection with the couple. Sometimes having the incorrect exposure, focus, or another technical aspect may help you tell that story better, not worse. To me, emotion trumps everything else.
Like my photos in National Geographic and other landscape magazines, I believe that the best photos use light. Light is the best tool a photographer has, and it can turn a sense of ordinary to extraordinary. Similarly, the wedding day is your brightest day, and I believe wedding photos should be bright and vivid to reflect the emotion of the day. I love using light to show the brilliance of each couple and their connection. Landscape photography has taught me that using color helps to draw a viewer in and keep them there – I don’t like the look of dull or washed out photos. Color and light are both important tools in telling the story.
There are many elements to taking a great photo – whether you’re shooting for your couple, a newspaper, or National Geographic. Being a photographer means understanding all the rules of photography and tools at your disposal – both the technical and aesthetic. Tools like the proper lens, lighting, composition, framing, and exposure (to name a few). Being an artist means understanding that all the tools are subjective, and rules are meant to be broken. If you understand this, you can take not just a single photo, but an entire wedding day of photos from good to great.
Are you recently engaged? Please reach out today, we’d be honored to be a part of your wedding. I look forward to hearing from you.
The best wedding photos come from bringing love into the image