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If you and your partner are feeling hesitant about booking a wedding photographer because you hate being photographed, you’re not alone. Thankfully, there are some amazing wedding photographers who are especially skilled at connecting with couples on a deeper level and helping them to feel at ease in front of the camera.
Raven Shutley is one of those photographers, and she wants to connect with you. Whether it’s for a few moments at a Renaissance Faire while bonding over costumes with a stranger or meeting with a couple who just wants their wedding day to reflect who they actually are, it’s those connections that allow Raven to capture real, raw, moments.
You Are Raven, based in Atlanta, provides wedding and portrait photography for party animals and other sophisticated creatures in Georgia and all around the world.
A Great Wedding Photographer Knows No Two Couples Are Alike
So who are these sophisticated creatures she photographs? Probably someone just like you: someone who doesn’t fit into any one box, someone who isn’t just one animal. “No one is necessarily a straightforward animal,” says Raven, “they might have different aspects, traits of the standard, but everyone is made up of different parts.”
Whether you’re a housecat with a lion’s mane or a giraffe with bluebird wings, Raven is an expert at seeing those different characteristics that make you you and bringing them out on camera, especially if you’d rather not be in front of a camera.
“I'm the photographer for people who don't like having their photo taken. It's become an inadvertent specialty of mine and I specifically help my couples (and everyone else!) feel comfortable, calm, chill, and to have a GREAT time while being photographed. We work through the awkward and capture what's real.”
Raven’s able to do this by forming a connection with her potential clients and working with them to customize and collaborate on their photography sessions. You won’t find any cookie-cutter portraits in her portfolio. Instead, her albums are filled with unique artwork that reflects who each person really is, both as an individual and as a couple.
Find a Photographer Who Can Help Unlock the Real You
It’s easy for a wedding photographer to pick a random, pretty park to take portraits in or put you in a pose they use for everyone, but no one wants to look back at their wedding pictures and think, “Who is that?” or “What were we doing?” or “Where did we take those photos again?”
Raven avoids those regrets by designing sessions based around her clients’ personalities, not her own. She says that “the number one thing I want to hear from couples is ‘Wow, that really does look like us. That really feels like us.’ And that’s what I go for one hundred percent of the time.”
How does she do it? From the jump, she wants to know about what makes the couple tick: details on how they met, how and where they spend their time, what their hobbies are, and even what the last great book they read was. She uses those conversations to find places and situations particular to the couple.
Maybe they love their home and want to capture their time in that space. Maybe they want to return to the place they got engaged. Maybe they love to hike and want to take photos surrounded by nature. Maybe they have a favorite doughnut shop that they visit every weekend. Maybe they have killer Dragon Con costumes they want to bust out.
Whatever you’re about, Raven wants to peek into that world that you create when you’re together and capture that magic. You won’t take wedding or engagement photos in a random park that you won’t remember the name of fifteen years from now. You’ll visit places and incorporate things that mean something to you.
Raven’s customized approach has allowed her to photograph some pretty spectacular weddings, from a joyful rainbow wedding full of bright colors and all the glitter to a deeply meaningful Quaker ceremony filled with silent reflection.
That wedding was a particularly powerful one for Raven. “You see many weddings that follow the same script and you start to forget the meaning behind the words,” Raven says. “It’s easy to forget that these words mean things to people, and that ceremony brought back the meaning behind it for me.”
Don’t Be Forced into a Wedding Mold That Isn’t Right for You
Raven is adamant that a wedding doesn’t have to be any one thing and in her work and on her blog she challenges the idea of a “traditional” wedding. “There is nothing you have to do at a wedding,” Raven says, “technically you don’t even have to get married that day.”
She’s seen couples have a first dance by themselves because they didn’t want to be the center of attention. She’s seen receptions filled with tiny children because the couple really valued the kids in their life. She’s seen backwards weddings with the reception occurring before the ceremony. There are no rules.
The depiction of the “typical” wedding never appealed to Raven. She didn’t grow up daydreaming about her own wedding because she didn’t see herself as fitting into the mold of what a wedding “should” be. Weddings on TV and in magazines portrayed skinny attractive young white people getting married. “So much about weddings that is out there does not represent the world to me. Does not represent America to me,” Raven says.
Choose a Wedding Photographer Who Will Help You Stress Less
She actually surprised herself when she ended up falling in love with shooting weddings. But, really, it was the people she fell in love with. “It was really awesome to be at everyone’s best party,” she says. “A day when everyone was at their highest and surrounded by love and support. It’s intoxicating, really.”
Through photographing weddings she’s been able to challenge what a wedding is, and show that a wedding doesn’t have to be the same thing for everyone — an idea she likes to share through her photography and on her blog, where she writes articles to help people get to a comfortable place in planning their wedding that makes sense for them.
She wants to make sure that couples understand that they don’t need to tick off a pre-made list of wedding musts, that they can have an out-of-the-box wedding, that they can have a wedding that makes sense to them. She hopes to decrease the immense stress that comes with planning a wedding by tackling those myths over what a wedding is, to collaborate with other like minded vendors, and to create a force that will put this information into the universe.
Because everyone deserves a wedding that reflects who they are, Raven wants to spread that information to the world, and wants to capture it on her camera.
So whether you get married in a conventional ceremony, cosplaying as your favorite characters, or dancing under a light saber arch, what’s really important to Raven is that you are a passionate person who is not just excited about getting married, but about being married.
Looking for a Wedding Photographer in Atlanta, Georgia, or Beyond? You Are Raven Is Ready to Hear From You.
If you’re looking for a wedding photographer in Atlanta, Georgia, or anywhere in Georgia or beyond who will capture the real you, help you along if being in front of the camera isn’t your thing, and take amazing, authentic photos, You Are Raven wants to connect with you.
Contact Raven Shutley with questions or for rates, and read her blog for wedding inspiration for sophisticated creatures.
Val is a copywriter, blogger, and digital content manager based in Chicago, Illinois. When not behind her laptop, she can be found traveling around the world or snuggling at home with her two cats.
Photo by Amber Marlow