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Crash Taylor Interviews Andy and Angie Wood


This week Crash Taylor welcomes Andy & Angie Wood of A&A Photography. Andy and Angie are a husband and wife team based out of Colorado. They are definitely what these interviews are all about, creativity, inspiration, giving back to the photographic community and pushing the boundaries of our awesome profession. Enjoy the interview and as usual, please leave a comment for this brilliant passionate husband and wife team.

Hi Andy and Angie,

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Tell us a little bit about Andy & Angie Wood?

Andy & I are a husband and wife photography team here in Colorado. We are celebrating our 5 year wedding anniversary this year but we have been together since senior year of high school. We are both Colorado natives; we went to Columbine High School and CSU. We both love photography and have a passion for the images that are created at a wedding. We love shooting together because we usually know what each other is thinking and can compliment it. We also have a studio where we do portraits of kids, seniors and families; the variety of photography has definitely helped us become who we are today in our wedding photography! We have also grown a lot through teaching at our local community college and WPPI in Las Vegas. Outside of our business we both love to travel, go out to eat, hang out with friends, watch movies, camp/fish and play with our dog!

Where is home?

Littleton, Colorado

If you could live anywhere on this awesome planet where would you build your dream home?

We both love Colorado, but a dream home on a beach in Kauai or the coast of Italy would be nice!

What is your current state of mind before we continue with the interview?

Lots of things go through both of our heads  because things are busy in our studio, but very happy!

Did you go to school to study photography?

Neither Andy or I went to school to study photography. We are completely self taught.  We both graduated from CSU in 2000. Andy with a Computer Information Systems degree and Angie with a PR/Marketing degree.

How long have you been a photographer?

We have both been into photography since we were young

How long have you been a wedding photographer?

We are in our 5th year of business with wedding photography

What or who got you started in wedding photography?

We did an engagement session for a friend of Angie’s.  She was really happy with the photos and asked us if we would do the photography at her wedding.  Since we had never done this before and she didn’t have much of a budget it worked out perfect.  From there people would ask us and so we turned it into a business.

How would you describe your style?

We have a mixture of styles between the 2 of us. We definitely tend to be more artistic using a lot of mixed lighting and compositional elements. We also use a lot of fashion inspired photography and some photojournalism. We both also really like environmental shots and the use of architecture in our wedding photography. We do get to know our couples and create imagery based on that. So no 2 weddings really look the same.

How many weddings do you average per year?

30

Do you have some recent images you can share with us?

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What type of cameras do you shoot with?

We use all Canon Digital Cameras and lenses.

We currently use a 1D Mark lll, 2 5D Mark 2’s and an original 5D

What is your favourite photography accessory, other than your camera?

The new Radio Poppers and the Rapid Straps

If you had to choose one lens which one would it be and why?

Canon 135 f2.0  - This lens is amazing! The image quality is great, it’s the perfect lens for standing back and taking candids, how fast it focuses and the way it renders the background.

What lighting equipment do you take on a shoot?

We use the Canon 580EX Flashes on camera and off.  We also use a White Lightening Strobe for parts of the wedding and some video lights.

Can you describe how and when you use flash, video light, reflectors and natural light during a wedding?

We use a lot of different lighting set-ups in our photos to make sure we get a certain look and capture the sky and the couple the way we see it right out of the camera.

We love all kinds of lighting and use it all!  We do use natural light more than anything else; for candids, ceremony, working with our couple and their bridal parties.  Sometimes the natural light is patterns on a wall or crazy sunset lighting, but it all comes from the sun.  We have also been know to use lamps or other lighting that is already turned on in a room or on a wall.  For family formal pictures we will use strobes for a more professional look and for our more creative work we use off camera lighting with multiple light set ups.   A lot of times one of us is doing creative lighting while the other one is using the natural light in the same set up with the couple or bridal party.

What is your favourite computer/editing accessory, other than your computer?

Andy loves his 30” Apple monitor and Angie loves her flat keyboard

How important is Photoshop in your final images?

It is very important only in putting a finishing touch on certain photos.

What is your most used Photoshop tool, plug-in, action set etc.?

We use a lot of custom actions Andy has made but we also really like Parker J’s actions.

Are you a MAC or PC lover?

Definitely MAC :)

Do you plan on buying any new equipment and if so what do you have your eyes on?

We always have our eyes on new equipment!

Canon 200 mm  F2.0  IS  lens and Quantum flashes are on the list next.

I finally feel I have mastered my Crash-Art workflow, can you briefly describe for the readers your photographic workflow after a wedding?

First we upload the images and back them up.  From there Angie or our assistant does a first edit eliminating duplicates, correcting any exposures and adding any necessary saturation/sharpening.  After that is completed we take the images of our choice (around 100)  and do artistic manipulation to them.  Once we have a final batch of photos we put them up online in a gallery for our clients.

I use Queensberry albums, what wedding albums do you supply your clients with and do you design them yourself or outsource the design?

We do all of our own album designs.  We like to give our clients choices to fit their personalities so we have a variety of manufacturers we offer.

Pictobook is one of our favorites, but we also use a few others including Art Leather.

How do you feel about cropping an image?

We think you should frame it up correctly in the camera when you take the shot, but there are times when you need to do it and it can just be another tool to make a perfect image.

I choose photographers for these interviews because their work inspires me and gets my creative juices flowing, hence the interview. What gives you ideas and inspires you to create such amazing imagery?

We get a lot of inspiration from our couples! We also get a lot of it from each other; always working on being better and of course there's a little competitiveness between us on who can get the best shot. We also read a lot of magazines and watch way too many movies. The old school photographers who used Polaroids, collodion wet plate, Holgas and brownies are also very inspirational to us.

What has been your most memorable assignment and why?

Every wedding is so different and we spend so much time with them and going through their photos that they all seem to be very memorable.  We have been a part of NILMDS for awhile and the few times we have done something for them it is always touching.

If you could shoot a wedding with another photographer who would it be and why?

Because we are a team we have not had a chance to shoot with too many other wedding photographers.  We would both enjoy shooting with almost anyone.  Especially those who shoot totally different than we do.

If we could we would both like to shoot with children;  we would love to see their perspective!

Do you have an assistant/2nd shooter that accompanies you on wedding assignments?

Because we are a husband and wife team we already have 2 of us shooting, but we do have an assistant who goes to weddings with us and  helps with lighting and gear. This year we have also had her start helping with some things in our office!  She is amazing and we are lucky to have her!

How many images do you average per wedding and how many do you usually present to your clients?

Between the 2 of us we usually shoot about 2000-3000 images. The client gets around 700-1400 photos.

Where would be your dream destination wedding?

Italy :)

How do you make the bride and groom, bridal party etc… feel relaxed in front of your Canon 5D Mark II?

When we get the chance we get to know our couple before their wedding, so they are familiar with us and feel more comfortable.  When we are shooting with them we keep things light hearted, always try to be calm and throw out lots of positive energy.  We talk to them while we are shooting and even pick on each other for the laughs.  We want it to feel more like we are hanging out rather then are on display.

Have you ever had anything go wrong at a wedding and if so, how did you handle it?

Oh, Of course! Doesn't everyone? We have definitely had equipment break (But that is why you have back-up gear!) Last year we had a wedding where the bride's mom had hired 2 other photographers and 3 videographers the day before the wedding and we didn't know :) They were a very elite family from Korea and wanted to spend lots of money on this wedding. So now think about a very, very crowded ceremony inside with very little walking room and a total of 4 photographers and 3 videographers........ This entire wedding was straight photojournalism for us without a single picture of the bride and groom together. The only way we could handle this was to make sure they knew we didn't have any pictures of the 2 of them together, to keep shooting and to keep smiling! After it was all said and done they loved their photos!

What are your favourite three images you have shot recently? Can you describe their creation in regards to location, lighting, composition, camera settings etc, also your thoughts when creating the images and what they mean to you?

~  The first photo was shot at a Trash The Dress session here in Denver.  The groom had proposed to her at this river and so it was meaningful to her.  This photo was done around sunset and the light is natural sun light.  It was raining throughout the entire session and so the sky was crazy so it was important to us to get it in the photo.

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~  The second photo was taken on the wedding day at a beautiful venue down in Colorado Springs called “The Garden of the Gods”.  It had rained a lot this day as well, but the photos were important to our couple so we did most of them in the rain.  At one point the bride looked up and it inspired what you see here.  The lighting was natural light from the sun.

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~  The third photo was taken in Philadelphia for a bridal session we did there.  The light is off camera lighting hidden up the stairs shooting back down at her.  We mostly just wanted a motion shot with her going up the stairs and this is what we got.

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~  The fourth photo was taken at a wedding here in Denver.  The groom was wanted to express his personality and some of the hobbies he has.  So fire  and magic seemed to fit him and we had a lot of fun in closed room taking these shots.  The light is all from the fire.  Compositionally we just wanted the groom in the middle with his groomsmen watching all around him.

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What do you feel is the most challenging thing about photographing weddings?

The schedule; you are given 10 minutes to create a masterpiece! You are always lacking time and light.

What do you think of the wedding photography industry at the moment and where do you see it in 5 years from now?

It seems as though the wedding photography market has become very saturated and it is harder to get your name out there.  There are a lot of great photographers out there and marketing has become more important than ever.  A lot of the middle ground where pricing is concerned is going away and we are seeing a lot of high end and low end pricing.  Cameras are getting better for the normal consumer and technology is only going to get better.  I think we will also see a comeback of film and other old photography means.

A wedding photographer who inspires you?

Any photographer who has been successful at photography and business.  People who have really branded themselves and made a style their own.  They think outside the box with their photography, but also know their business inside and out.  There are many photographers out there who have done this it is hard to just name one or two!

It’s almost that time of year for a Wood family portrait. Is there any photographer out there that you would be stoked to say – he/she took my portrait?

Mark Tucker

Patrick Hoelck

David Lachapelle

Matthew Brady

Michael Muller

A website and/or blog you visit often?

www.strobist.blogspot.com

blog.magnumphotos.com

The first photographer that comes to your mind and why?

This is a hard question because when you are asked to think of a photographer many of them come to mind.

The last workshop or seminar you attended and why?

Angie recently went to the Imagining Workshops here in Colorado up in Breckenridge.  We recently joined PPC (Professional Photographers of Colorado) and learned about this workshop through them.  She took Carl Caylor’s class who specializes in natural light.  It was a 4 day workshop and there were other guest speakers there as well.  Neither of us have taken a lot of seminars or workshops, but when we do we try to take them with someone who shoots nothing like us.

What photographic organizations do you belong to?

WPPI

PPC (Professional Photographers of Colorado)

Colorado Wedding Photographers

Photographik

Editorial Photographers

One way you market A&A Photography?

Through word of mouth.  We work off of a lot of referrals.

Do you advertise? If so where?

We only do 1 print ad with a local magazine. We also do a little online advertising with Photographik. A lot of our work comes from referrals and people finding us while doing a search online.

How important is an awesome website for your business?

It is your store front;  one of the first things people see.  You have to have a great website for people to call you and come to your studio, then the rest is up to you!

If not a photographer, I would have liked to be a marine biologist studying the great white shark. What would you have been?

Andy - In the FBI ( I actually was picked to take the test and started the process before our photography company)

Angie - A teacher (either high school English or elementary 4th, 5th, 6th grade)

I realize that each great photographer has a particular penchant or love for photographing a particular subject whether it be nature, portraits, sea or landscapes, shadow and light, etc. as a result I would love to have you talk about and share whatever images you feel appropriate of your own private obsession in the magical world of photography.

One of the things we have been doing and have come to love is a really old photography style using Collodion Wet Plates.  We have integrated them into our work with bridal portraits, but also love to do them on our own as personal projects.  Angie loves ghost towns and old falling down barns so we have been playing around with this style of photography and those subjects as well.

We also love working with models;  we are thrilled when they call us for portfolio work for themselves.  We love to come up with themes and do the whole shoot based on it.  This was a model we worked with over a year ago where we did a “fire” theme in our studio.

Besides that we do enjoy landscape work, pictures of our dog, friends and family.

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Is there anybody or anything you would love to photograph?

Andy - Ginger Rogers

Angie - I would love to travel back in time and take pictures of the old castles with the knights and horses.

When I was 2nd shooting I was picking everybody’s brain, I still am actually. That’s why I love these interviews so much. Every interview I learn something that makes me a better photographer. What advice do you have for somebody who wants to pursue wedding photography?

If you put your unique personality and everything you've got into your photography and your business you will be rewarded with both personal satisfaction and clients. Success will only come when you stop caring what everyone else is doing; to be truly unique you have to step back from the industry.

We know that each of us has someone or something, which inspires our life and work. Can you tell us the true basis of your inspiration?

Everything in life gives us inspiration.  The beauty in nature, the clouds in the sky, animals, relationships between people.  All of these things inspire us to be better and give us the desire to record it in a photograph.

Is there anything you would have done differently during your photographic career?

Started it earlier

Name a photographer you would like to take a portrait of?

John A. Coffer - A collodion wet plate artist

If you could be invisible for one day with your camera...

Area 51;  Put the Rumours to Rest

I’ve learned the most from…

Experience and Doing!

What talent would you most like to have?

Angie - Dancing

Andy - Painter

Something you’re still learning?

Everything!

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

Each other and the dog

What is your greatest fear?

Andy - Failure

Angie - For the people I love to not know how much they mean to me

Something that is overrated?

Politics and The Media

Something you’re saving up for?

A new studio and travel

What item do you wish you had designed?

Anything made by Apple :)

If you could have lunch with anyone who is famous who would it be?

Andy - George S. Patton

Angie -  Almost any President’s wife;  I would love to hear what her life is like

Where you'll find me on a Friday night at 9 p.m.?

Depending on the time of year, probably at a wedding!

Otherwise with friends out to eat or at a movie

Your favourite film (movie) of all time?

We both love movies, so it’s hard to say a favorite!

We see almost everything including the scary ones!

Who would play you in a film (movie) of your life?

Andy -  Seth Rogen

Angie - Jenny Garth

First thing you would do if you won the lottery?

Buy a camp here in Colorado for the charity Camp To Belong  (they are an organisation that helps foster kids and reunites siblings that have been separated by foster care)

Then buy an RV and travel around helping people (and of course take pictures)

Which five words would your friends use to describe you?

Andy - loyal, trustworthy, ambitious, perfectionist, smart

Angie - sweet, accidently funny, loyal, nurturing, friendly

What ambition have you not yet achieved?

Self Satisfaction

What would you like to be doing in 5 years from now?

Definitely still doing photography, but also teaching more through workshops and the organizations we belong to.

And the last question, if you had one wish…

Everyone had God in their life, no one had to worry about money and that Starbucks gave away free drinks everyday! Oh! Sorry.....I guess that was 3!

Oh one more, if someone said ‘how can I be the next Andy & Angie Wood?’ What would you say?

Why would you want to be anyone but you?   If you want to be successful in photography and your business you have to take the path where you only be yourself, you work long and hard and then you can be the next whoever you are.

Your readers can find out more about me:

Website: http://www.a-a-photography.com

Blog: http://www.a-a-photography.com/blog

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