{un}convention San Francisco: Introducing Oriana Koren

Little-known fact: Oriana Koren was the originator of the term "Wedding Space Disruptor," which Catalyst has adopted as a name for all our wedding professional friends who shake things up and run their businesses boldly. Oriana has recently moved from weddings to editorial work (and moved from Chicago to LA via the South) and has loads of experience to share from her time as a go-against-the-grain photographer. We're excited to welcome her as a panelist for (un)convention San Francisco!


Company: Oriana Koren, freelancer

City: Los Angeles, California

Tagline (if there is one): A quote, instead: “An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times.” ~ Nina Simone

Tell us more about your hustle: I owned a documentary wedding photography company for five years and I specialized in the ways in which we subvert, disrupt, and ultimately, reclaim what marriage can be for each and every one of us. These days, I am working as an editorial photographer and I'm shooting weddings on a very selective, case by case basis.

Photos by Oriana Koren

Photos by Oriana Koren

How are you a “game-changer” in the wedding industry? I've tried as best as I can over the last five years to ask really important questions of the gatekeepers of our industry -- photo editors, 'top' photographers, other wedding industry vendors -- why the industry isn't as inclusive as it could be? Why is it so hard to make room for all of the narratives about marriage in our present time? How can we be more purposeful in increasing visibility for same sex couples, trans identified folks, people of color. What can be do better? I try to ask the hard questions, to hold folks to task and then in my own work, I attempt to fill in the very visible gaps I see.

What inspires you to “do weddings differently”? We affirm the humanity and love of the people we see in love and committing to marriage frequentl, so it feels like it is very much my duty as a photographer to do weddings differently by making sure I'm working with and documenting the histories of historically underrepresented people. 

What is one of your favorite creative, offbeat projects you’ve worked on? I helped concept and direct a menswear for women shoot at one of my favorite noshing spots in my old hometown of Chicago. It was just blowing my mind that I hadn't seen any styled shoots for non gender conforming people getting married so I decided to make it happen with some of my favorite vendors. It's my favorite styled shoot after another shoot I directed and photographed inspired by the Korean diaspora in Mexico.

Photos by Oriana Koren

Photos by Oriana Koren

What are three ingredients for a perfect day at your company? Curiosity, a willingness to take risks, and a willingness to be challenged!

If you were in charge, what would the next big wedding trend be? More women wearing suits instead of dresses! Less fetishization of cultural weddings! More couples opting to have 'love parties' versus super traditional ceremony-reception combos to appese the parental units!

What are you most looking forward to at {un}convention? Meeting all the other fellow space disrupters and bad ass wedding professionals who are going to change the game for the better! Also booze. I'm always excited about smoozing and boozing with like minded folk :)

Photos by Oriana Koren

Photos by Oriana Koren