Clane Gessel Fine Art Wedding Studio –
Luxury Wedding Photography
Clearly, we’re different. Our fine art approach to wedding photography is vastly different from other photographers. We look at each wedding as a living, breathing piece of art- an event meant to be relived and celebrated. As you can see from our work, fine art wedding photography is more than just a style, it’s art you can feel.
We often get asked how we create and capture this magic for each couple. Our refined approach includes collaborating closely with each couple to understand their vision. Our goal isn’t just to capture the events of the day, but to envelop the essence of each couple into a fine art piece that tells the story of love throughout generations.
How we do this starts with the couple. If you know and understand their love, you can transcribe it into art. Wedding photography has evolved a lot throughout the years, couples are more discerning than they’ve ever been, and want a photographer that can capture their wedding best images possible.
A lot of photographers us “fine art” to describe their photography, however fine art is more of an understanding of the purity of the discipline than the artwork itself. It’s easier to understand if you think about it as the difference between teaching art and learning to think like an artist.
Fine art photography can be thought of as capturing the essence of something in an image. This “something” could be an idea, an emotion, an event, a place or even a person or number of people. Fine art wedding photography uses the same compositional elements such as lighting, depth of field, negative space, rule of thirds, etc., but the artist connects with the couple to capture their essence at just the right moment.
I started as a fine art photographer, my work is in National Geographic Fine Art Galleries nationwide, I love finding parallels between that discipline and wedding photography. It’s about creating a moment for you couple and capture them as it unfolds. It’s something we can all relate to, and everyone loves the FEELING of a great photo if they can relate. 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.
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 acting as a conduit. An artist is just a translator- translating love and the elegance of the wedding into a piece of art to relive and revive the emotion. There are many things that no one would see if I didn’t photograph them, and I love showcasing that. I train my team in doing this – 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 the work of the wedding photographer.
Since scoring a huge honor like the cover of National Geographic, one might wonder why I choose to shoot fine art 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 been lucky by booking amazing couples – they’ve taken me to 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.
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 fine art 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 and capturing fine art wedding photos. I look forward to hearing from you.
If you’d like to see more images like this – please view our wedding gallery here.