We are so excited to introduce one of our favorite photographers to you today: Olivia Christina Photography! A member of our Red Oak Weddings Vendor Guide, Olivia is both a film and digital photographer, with a big heart for perpetual education, and an even bigger heart for her couples. We love her advice for couples in the midst of planning, and her perspective on documenting the "real moments" of a wedding. Welcome to the Red Oak Weddings family, Olivia!
Tell us a little bit about you, and how you got started? When I was 14 my older cousin gave me her old Ricoh KR-5 Super 35mm camera and I began photographing everything, and while that sounds like the beginning of a “how I got started” anecdote, I think what really got me started was my love of stories. I loved, and still love, getting lost in other people’s adventures and fantasies. I would read books for hours as a teenager, ignoring everything around me and allowing myself to become a part of whatever tale I had buried my nose in.
When I first decided that I wanted to be a photographer, I thought I was going to go work for a magazine and either shoot editorial work or be a National Geographic photographer. But then my sister’s coworker asked me if I would photograph her wedding and that’s when my perspective changed. Looking back at the photos from that wedding, they aren’t jaw-dropping or anything spectacular. Yet that wedding will always be the moment when I realized that not only can I get lost in real people’s stories, but I can become a part of their stories as well. From that point on, I knew that I wanted to shift my focus from highly stylized photography to a documentary approach, capturing real, honest moments of love and life.
I still have that old 35mm camera, by the way.
What services do you offer and/or what do you specialize in? I am a documentary style photographer specializing in weddings and lifestyle photography. I love working closely with couples and families and hearing about their lives, while also staying a few steps back and allowing their own actions to tell stories as well. I offer my clients honest images of some of the most important days of their lives.
What makes your business unique? I’ve always loved stories and photography has been my way of becoming a storyteller. With the amount of beautiful imagery floating around online and in magazines, it’s so easy for people to focus on the beautiful editing but I want the focus of my images to be on what’s happening in them. I’ve never minded that some of my photos may not be perfectly sharp or might have some camera shake. Movement and soft focus are wonderful ways to bring emotions into a photograph that you might not necessarily feel is everything remained perfectly sharp and brightly colored. It took me awhile to realize that this was actually OK! To me, it’s always been about the feelings you get when you see certain photos, not just how they look.
What’s your favorite part of working with couples? I love getting to really know my couples when we work together. I ask some questions through emails to make sure that we are a good fit for one another but getting together in person is when we really begin to form a relationship that is more like a real friendship! I love talking to my couples about the things that we have in common, getting them to laugh, and making sure that we all leave the shoot feeling happy and excited about working together. Of course photographing them is also my favorite part but at lot of what I think makes the photos so good stems from the relationship that we form with one another.
One piece of advice for couples? Just have fun! I know there are so many of those posed, dramatic photos floating around Pinterest that everyone thinks are what your wedding photos are supposed to look like but when you look back on your wedding day, the photos that will bring you back will be the ones where you guys have huge smiles on your faces and are laughing and dancing throughout the night! Your wedding day is going to be amazing no matter what so don’t take it so seriously and just ENJOY IT!
Childhood career aspiration? Veterinarian!
Coffee or Tea? Both, please!
Hidden talent? You may not know this from looking at me but I can caulk a bathtub like a champ and I’m pretty skilled with a jigsaw! The perk of being raised by a carpenter is that I’m pretty handy around the house!