Sometimes the universe has a way of leading you to awesome people, and that's exactly how we met North Carolina wedding photographer, Mark Maya. As fate would have it, our co-founder Liz Susong stayed as his Airbnb and they got to chatting about their jobs. What happens when a wedding magazine editor and a progressive wedding photographer meet? They decide to support each other.
We are so pleased to have Mark in our vendor community, not only because of his extreme talent and the way he treats his clients, but because he is open and honest about issues that many people shy away from. He began exploring photography while he was serving in Iraq, and since then has focused on his love of art, his desire to showcase people's love, and his choice to be candid about his battle with PTSD and mental illness. We love the work that he is doing to break down the stigma of mental illness, and it is something we need WAY MORE OF in an industry that tries too hard to be shiny, happy, and pretty all the time.
As we do with all of our new vendors, we asked Mark to tell us more about himself, his business, and who we loves to work with. Read on to find out why you need to consider Mark Maya Photography when looking to book a photographer for your wedding day!
What is the mission of Mark Maya Photography?
My mission is to provide an honest, stress-free experience for couples and capture timeless moments that they can enjoy with their family forever.
My style of wedding photography is deeply rooted in connection and influenced by fine-art and documentary photography. The result is authentic, simple wedding photography that you can feel. I pride myself on not just being a photographer, but rather an artist who facilitates and creates an environment for two people to connect in.
What is the origin story of Mark Maya Photography?
After spending years struggling through my purpose and how I could help others through photography, I shot my first wedding.
After that wedding I remember feeling so energized, happy, and connected to the couple. I felt like I had just gone on a day-long adventure with close friends.
On top of that, when the couple got their photos they cried, wouldn't stop saying "thank you!", and eventually became my close friends.
All those were signs that I was supposed to be a wedding photographer and I'm so grateful that I listened!
What is your favorite project that you've worked on?
My current favorite project is building an intimate community where photographers come to get help from one another.
Here's my favorite past project: 5 years ago I didn't know what kind of photographer I wanted to be so I challenged myself to do a 365-day self-portrait project where I would conceptualize, produce, and share one self-portrait every day for a year.
In the middle of this project I broke the 5th metatarsal in my left foot. I had to do the rest of the project on crutches.
This forced me to slow down and think through every step beforehand so I would have to "do" less work in the moment. This caused me to develop a clear vision about what I wanted before undertaking any new project and future endeavor. It also taught me that something seemingly "bad" can lead to something "good".
"He made my wedding day so special! He prioritized me. He is the reason people say hiring a professional wedding photographer is so worth it!”
— Audra + Daniel
How are you a "wedding space disruptor"?
For the past half decade, I've experimented with my photography business as a way to serve others and to figure out where I can provide the most value.
Along my journey, I've shared each and every detail about what I've learned with my clients, other photographers, friends, and family. The result has been the forming of an honest community of creative people that have used my stories and experiences to grow and create their own.
What three ingredients are necessary for a great day at Mark Maya Photography?
Honesty, self awareness, and a clear vision.
What are some traits of your ideal clients?
Intuitive, honest, badass, light-hearted, and fun loving!