This interview is about college sweethearts Perry and Jayanne and their awesome business Witon Photography. Brilliant wedding photographers from my hometown of Los Angeles. Their photos are inspiring, fresh and cool. I admire the fact they are always taking things to the next level but most of all because they want to photograph Anja Rubik in Rome.
Enjoy the interview and if you think Perry and Jayanne are cool let them know. Keep shooting, constantly experiment and love life!
Tell us a little bit about you? We met at school while taking photography and graphic design classes. We were looking through our viewfinders, saw each other, and fell in love. Just kidding! We did meet in college though. After college we got married and have been shooting weddings ever since!
Where is home? Los Angeles
If you could live anywhere on this awesome planet where would you build your dream home? Maui. Every time we go, whether it be to shoot a wedding or for leisure, we’re always telling ourselves we should just move there and shoot weddings exclusively in Hawaii. Maybe someday!
What is your current state of mind before we continue with the interview? Excited Crash Taylor is interviewing us!
Did you go to school to study photography? We both have degrees in Graphic Design and took many film and digital photography classes while in school.
How long have you been a photographer? For about 6 years.
How long have you been a wedding photographer? We’ve been shooting weddings together for 3 years.
What or who got you started in wedding photography? We both work full time jobs as Graphic Designers and we’ve always loved photography. When you work for a particular company you don’t always have the creative freedom you desire, as you are stuck within the boundaries of that company’s particular “look.” We needed a creative outlet that we could control ourselves, so we took up wedding photography and haven’t looked back.
How would you describe your style? There are so many cliché terms out there that we don’t really associate ourselves with. We just like taking beautiful images. We try to be different, artistic, and spontaneous.
How many weddings do you average per year? 20-25
What type of cameras do you shoot with? Canon 5D Mark II’s. We love Canon. As far as lenses we currently use a 15mm 2.8, 24mm 1.4, 24-70mm 2.8, 50mm 1.4, 85mm 1.2, 70-200mm 2.8, and 100L Macro 2.8.
What is your favourite photography accessory, other than your camera? Our video light.
If you had to choose one lens which one would it be and why? 85mm f/1.2L II for its awesome bokeh and sharpness, although we don’t pull it out too often at weddings, it really shines when we do.
What lighting equipment do you take on a shoot? 580EX II’s & a video light. We keep it light and simple in order to capture moments and not worry about juggling heavy equipment around.
Can you describe how and when you use flash, video light, reflectors and natural light during a wedding? We use available light as much as possible. When we’re shooting the wedding couple in a dark environment we pull out our video light; it’s fully adjustable on the amount of light it outputs. This gives us a lot of control over the amount of light as well as the direction of light, something that a flash cannot give us. During the reception we mix it up. We may pull out the video light for the first dance, or use an off camera flash mixed with an on camera flash (bounced off the ceiling or wall) or a combination of both. It depends on the venue and the lighting in the venue.
What is your favourite computer/editing accessory, other than your computer? Adobe Lightroom.
What is your most used Photoshop tool, plug-in, action set etc.? We do all our editing in Lightroom. We can do so much with this software and it just keeps improving. We’ve created our own custom presets in order to keep a consistent look across all our photos. We like to experiment a lot so there are times where we do bring images into Photoshop to try different coloring techniques that we cannot achieve in Lightroom.
How important is Photoshop in your final images? Photoshop plays an insignificant role in the majority of our final images. We couldn’t say that 2 years ago though!
Are you a Mac or PC lover? Mac all the way!
I finally feel I have mastered my Crash-Art workflow, can you briefly describe for the readers your photographic workflow after a wedding?
After the wedding we download the flash cards directly off the camera into Lightroom. The data automatically backed up onto our server. We then choose some of our favourite photos to be posted on our facebook page / blog, and edit those. After that we go through every image in the wedding and 5-star our final selections. Once that is done, we color correct and retouch the images in Lightroom. After that we output the images from Lightroom. We then look through the images one more time in Adobe Bridge, and make sure everything looks good. The photos are then uploaded to our online gallery.
What wedding albums do you supply your clients with and do you design them yourself or outsource the design? We offer a variety of different albums from different vendors. Since we were trained as graphic designers, we design everything ourselves.
Do you plan on buying any new equipment and if so what do you have your eyes on? We are pretty much set with all the equipment we currently have, however we are definitely going to buy the 5D Mark III and the 24-70 Mark II when/if they are released. The 24-70mm lens is such a versatile lens, and plays an important role in our wedding day photography. We can’t wait until they update it to make it even better!
How do you feel about cropping an image? We crop the majority of our images in camera. There are rare moments during weddings however where you don’t have time to crop perfectly in camera, so we do occasionally crop some photos in Lightroom.
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? Fashion photography is very inspiring. There are so many great fashion photographers doing amazing work. One of our favourite fashion photographers is Guy Aroch, we love his style, use of light, and mystery he creates with his photos.
What has been your most memorable assignment and why? Shooting the wedding of KTLA News weatherman Mark Kriski, and news anchor Jennifer Gould was fun; and our images were on the morning news, so that was a plus.
If you could shoot a wedding with someone who would it be and why? Jeff Newsom because of his creativity and passion for photography.
It’s almost that time for a Taylor family portrait. Is there any photographer out there that you would be stoked to say - he took my portrait? Jose Villa. We love that he shoots film, and the colors in his photos are so beautiful.
Do you have an assistant/2nd shooter that accompanies you on wedding assignments? Not currently. We shoot together and think that having two shooters is the perfect amount. We pack light so we don’t need an assistant.
How many images do you average per wedding and how many do you usually present to your clients? We average around 1,500 and we present 500-600.
Where would be your dream destination wedding? Greece (minus the chaos that’s going on there right now)
A website and/or blog you visit often? http://fashiongonerogue.com/
How do you make the bride and groom, bridal party etc… feel relaxed in front of your 5D Mark II? We joke around with our clients; this instantly makes them feel comfortable around us. It makes such a difference in the photos if everyone is relaxed. The bride and groom are usually the most comfortable if they have done an engagement shoot with us beforehand. The couples who have done this, are much more comfortable in front of the camera.
Have you ever had anything go wrong at a wedding and if so, how did you handle it? We had a little incident with a videographer once. I (Perry) accidently got in the view of his video camera and he came up behind me and kicked me in the groin! I wanted to be professional so I did not retaliate, but was shocked to say the least.
What do you feel is the most challenging thing about photographing weddings? The most challenging thing is to keep your brain thinking differently throughout the day. Thinking of different angles, or different compositions. If you’re brain gets lazy then your photos won’t be as creative.
What do you think of the wedding photography industry at the moment and where do you see it in 5 years from now? As DSLR’s get cheaper and cheaper, more and more people are buying them. Some of those people will try to get into the wedding industry. Unfortunately it’s not as easy as picking up a Rebel with a Kit Lens, shooting, and then burning a disc. We feel like the people that are searching for photographers can tell the difference; they know quality photos when they see them. We don’t feel our business will be challenged just because everyone has easy access to bigger and better photo equipment. If we keep being creative, taking unique photos, and keep developing our own unique style, then we’ll be alright.
The first photographer that comes to your mind and why? Sebastian Kim. He’s a fashion photographer and does very inspiring work.
A wedding photographer who inspires you? Jose Villa. He’s our favourite wedding photographer, and does incredible work.
One way you market Witon Photography? All our weddings come by word of mouth. Facebook is also a good networking tool; we don’t do any paid advertising.
How important is an awesome website for your business? Our website showcases our work and it’s the first thing potential clients see so it’s extremely important to have an awesome website.
Do you advertise in bridal magazines? No
If not a photographer, I would have liked to be a marine biologist studying the great white shark. What would you have been? I, (Jayanne) would have loved to be an actress. I, (Perry) would have been a Major League Baseball player.
Lately I have wanted to photograph model Natasha Poly and Abbey Lee Kershaw in Iceland for Vogue Russia and great white sharks in South Africa for National Geographic. Is there anybody or anything you would love to photograph? A fashion shoot with model Anja Rubik in Rome would be amazing.
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? Create something unique. Create a brand. Know your tools and how to use them. Know what makes a great picture great. Learn all you can and practice as much as you can. Don’t go out and shoot a wedding without any experience; it’s the most important day in people’s lives and you don’t want to mess it up with lack of experience. Second shoot, and pick photographers’ brains. Learn composition. Be observant, and study good photographers. Learning Lightroom and Photoshop and how to manipulate color is what’s going to take your photos to another level.
At the moment I’m finding a lot of my photographic inspiration from cinema and Russian fashion photographers. 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? We look at a lot of fashion magazines like Vogue, W, and Elle for inspiration.
Is there anything you would have done differently during your photographic career? Not really; we’re loving life at the moment.
If you could be invisible for one day with your camera... We would travel to Africa and take pictures of all the amazing wildlife, without the fear of being eaten, because we are “invisible” right?
I’ve learned the most from… The Internet! There are so many tools and so much inspiration, and it’s pretty much an endless supply.
What talent would you most like to have? The ability to fly. Imagine being able to fly over all of the L.A. traffic!
Something you’re still learning? To breathe. Both of us have full time design jobs on top of wedding photography. It’s hard to take time out to relax. When we get home from our full time jobs we are working on photos. We never really have much of a weekend, but we fully enjoy what we do so we have nothing to complain about!
What or who is the greatest love of your life? (simultaneously points at each other) Perry! Jayanne!
What is your greatest fear? Our alarm clock. We love sleep but never really get much!
Something that is overrated? Perfection.
Something you’re saving up for? Our dream house in Newport Beach.
What item do you wish you had designed? The most amazing phone in the world… the iPhone
If you could have lunch with anyone who is famous who would it be? Mark Zuckerberg
Where you'll find me on a Friday night at 9 p.m.? Either editing photos, relaxing at home, or painting the town.
Your favourite film (movie) of all time? That’s a tough one. We rarely have time to go to the movies. I think that last movie that we both enjoyed that we saw together was “The Social Network.”
First thing you would do if you won the lottery? First we'd scream! After that we would buy our dream house by the beach, pay our debts, then put a list together of all the people we would help with the money.
Which five words would your friends use to describe you?
Fun, funny, busy, creative, amazing
Creative, outgoing, kind, funny, busy.
What would you like to be doing in 5 years from now? More destination weddings so we can explore the world.
And the last question, if you had one wish… We would wish that everything in the world would be perfect. There would be peace, no homelessness, no starving children, and no disease.
Oh one more, if someone said ‘how can I be the next Witon Photography’ What would you say? Haha. Never try and be someone else. Be yourself, be unique, and you will be great.
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