Girls Behind the Lens: The VUE Chicks

I've decided to start a(n awesome :) new series called "Girl(s) Behind the Lens". From time to time I'll interview some of my favorite photographers and ask all the questions I've been dying to ask since forever. I'm really excited that my first interview was conducted with one of the funniest photo duo out the there, the VUE chicks! I've been admiring their fun photo shoots and hilarious blog for a long time and I couldn't wait to read their responses to my questions.

Tell us a little bit about yourselves and your supercool company, VUE Photography!

Genya and Wesleyann are the chicks of VUE photography! Plain and simple, we’re emotion junkies…we chase the happy, crave heart stopping moments, and cross our fingers for tears of joy!  Fully caffeinated, we approach every wedding with enthusiasm percolating in our veins…it’s just who we are!

Genya: With my dad building my first darkroom, I knew by high school I wanted to be a photographer so I went to college and worked my bootie off, soaking up as much information as I could! When I first started out I worked for several commercial photographers, then an amazing studio...I really enjoyed all of the work experiences but soon realized that I would adore the flexibility of working for myself.  When we moved to Florida- that's exactly what I set out to do! When I was in college I never dreamed that I shoot weddings- however I have to say that it's the exact corner of the industry that I should have been in all along! I feed of the emotion and girly excitement of the whole event! There is never a dull day!

Wesleyann:  I was the girl who had stacks of wedding magazines in her room at the age of 8!  Weddings and photography have always been a true passion of mine!  I moved to the Florida Panhandle in 2005 and studied Communication and Photography in college.  Out of college and being immersed in weddings, the door to become a wedding planner at a local resort opened first which is where Genya and I met! With a little one of the way and experience in photography and weddings…it was perfect timing and clear that Genya and I were just meant to be and weddings together is what we’re meant to do!

G+W: It was friendship at first sight!  With encouragement, passion and laughter, we take on each day together…even if the road ahead isn’t a straight line!  And well, together we’re like aged wine…the friendship just gets better with time!

Where is the name VUE coming from?!

Kind of a funny story....the name really doesn't mean anything special or have any importance. When Genya lived in England she used to go to a small local pub and out the window there was a movie theater named VUE.  After a few drinks and long conversations, she decided that one day she was going to have her own photography company named VUE! 

What´s your favorite part of the job?

Aside from working together almost every day…we get to be apart of something where we get to create memories for generations to come!  It’s exciting to be apart of something so much bigger than just you!  And…how many people can say that with their job they get to celebrate life, love and happiness?!

And then…We always joke that we partially do weddings just so we can have cake every weekend!

and your least favorite? :)

Being away from our little munchkins!!

Do you travel a lot? Favorite photo destination?

In the last 2 years, we’ve had the opportunity to travel a good bit!!  We have a total of 10 weddings this year we’re traveling for!  It’s hard to say where our favorite place has been!!  VUE has been all over…from The Bahamas, to Hawaii, to Pittsburgh!  Shooting in Pittsburgh with all the snow was fun because usually we’re shooting in sand!  However, these chicks have learned we’re supposed to remain south…we don’t do well with the cold!

You primarily shoot engagements, maternity & family portraits and  of course weddings. Which one is your favorite? 

Weddings and Engagements!

I love how you always come up with an original and fun themes for portrait shoots.  How do you come up with these ideas? (They are awesome! ;)

Oh, to be inside our heads is a scary thought!!!!  We honestly take inspiration from the simple everyday happenings of life and love….and find the pretty… sometimes even the humorous! 

Do you always shoot on location or do you have a studio background as well? 

Well, big changes are in the works for the VUE chicks!  We did have a studio in the Florida Panhandle, however we are headed to Atlanta.  So as of right now, everything we shoot is on location.  When we had a studio, we really only ever used the studio for newborn sessions.  We love shooting on location and tromping around to scout out fun new spots!! New places are exciting…and we love trying new things and being challenged!

Favorite shoot? (yes you have to choose! :) 

ONE?!?!  JUST ONE!? It would probably have to be our ice cream truck engagement shoot!!  We both left that session on such a high!!  And the couple was so full of spunk and head over heels in love with each other!! (see here)

If you could introduce VUE in one picture which one would it be?

We could choose tons, but here is one that we’ll always love that is just…so us!! It’s Bright, carefree...utterly ridiculous! and well, cake was involved!! We don't think you can look at this image and not be happy! (see first picture HERE)

How many weddings do you do in a year? 

A few years ago we were doing 40+ weddings a year.  However, we quickly learned that if we wanted to spend time with the ones we love most, we needed to cut back!!  It’s so easy to get caught up in what you love to do…we’re constantly having to remind ourselves and make time to do those little things that matter…like taking our kids to the beach, having a family dinner, or just taking time for ourselves…it’s all so important!! Now we’re shooting about 30 a year.

Do you both do everything or is there a specific workflow you´re following?

We both pretty much do everything!  However, Genya mostly takes care of the editing process while I take care of the postproduction process of the blog, getting all the client packages together, and basic studio management stuff!  It’s funny how the two of us work together…we know each other so well that we pretty much know what the other is doing or will do without ever having to say a thing!  We actually shoot that way too…we always know what the other one is shooting!  We basically have the same brain.

How difficult was it to set up your company and get a steady client base? Anything you´d do differently if you could start again?

Starting anything can be a challenge…but challenges are exciting!!  When Genya moved to the Florida Panhandle, she really just hit the ground running!!  She basically connected with vendors in the area that she knew she wanted to work with.  In the wedding industry, referrals are key!  And Brides, are our biggest referrers!  Relationships with your clients and vendors are so important!! 

Can’t say there’s anything we would do differently!  When things don’t go as planned or you hit a few bumps in the road, you find a new plan of attack and you learn from what didn’t work before and the mistakes you may have made!  Learning from those mistakes and failures just make you a better person!!

The only thing I {Genya} wish would’ve been different, is if I could’ve met Wesleyann 2 years earlier!

Now the part we´re all dying to know… What photography equipment do you use?

Canon 5d Mark ii
Canon 7d
Canon 24-105 4 USM L
Canon 50mm 1.2
Canon 70-200 IS USM 2.8
Canon 24-70 2.8
Canon 580 Ex flash
Alien Bee B400
Pocket Wizards
Quantum SC battery packs

If you could choose just one lens to use for portraits / weddings which one would it be?

It would probably be the 24-70mm f/2.8 lens…it’s the most versatile!

Do you shoot exclusively with natural light or do you use flashes / studio equipment?

Of course we ADORE natural light and will use that any chance we get!!  However, sometimes there just isn’t enough light…so depending on the circumstance, we’ll throw on the {ever-so-dreaded} on camera flash.  We do however use AlienBee lights for our receptions and a Qflash every now and then for portraits to make things more dramatic and pop!

For aspiring photographers like myself it´s always challenging to prioritize and now what we need and when we need it. What´s more important a good camera, banging lenses or maybe a flashy flash? 

A good camera and banging lens are both important, but starting out with a good camera would be our first suggestions!  What’s a banging lens without a great camera!?  We’ve learned that you have to make investments little by little…especially when starting out!!  It can be crazy pricy…unless you’re one of those that just got a huge inheritance or something like that!  We however…did not!  It took putting lots of pennies in the piggy bank to get where we are now!

Best trick you´ve ever learned?

Wiggling your toes helps to keep you from blinking during pictures! We’re constantly letting people in on this trick!

What´s your favorite photography accessory? 

Hmmm…well, we love our shootsacs!  Is Red Bull considered a photography accessory?!

How does your post processing workflow look like?

It’s very important to do whatever we can to get the images as perfect as possible straight out of the camera…because that means less time editing!  And as photographers, that’s the ultimate goal! But lets be real….of course we have chunks of crappy images to dump or ones that need more help than the others!! When we edit we mainly just use Lightroom.  If an images needs to be retouched more closely, we’ll pull it into Photoshop. 

This year however, we’ve found our saving grace!!!  Remember the bit about how it’s important to make sure we spend time with the ones who matter most?!  We’ll with all the major changes taking place this year and lots of traveling, we started using Fotofafa for our photo processing….they’re our God send!!!  We were able to show them how we edit our images and since then…all our images have been spot on!  They’re FANTASTIC! We cull all our images down and then they edit them.  Once we get them back we have our own action we throw on to make them pop just a tad bit more, as well as a facial action from Imagenomic.

How many images do you normally shoot on a wedding / portrait session and how many of those do you deliver to your clients? 

We shoot every wedding together and almost all portrait sessions together. For a wedding we usually shoot roughly 2000 images together and give the clients anywhere from 700-1200 images. The number of images all depends on how long their coverage is, their details and décor, how many people are breaking it down on the dance floor…all those sorts of things!

For portraits, we usually shoot about 500 and they have about 150-200 to go through.

MAC or PC? :)

Mac chicks through and through!  We were at one point in time PC users….but we try to not bring that up!

Favorite photographers? 

Oh dear…we have so many on our rss feeder its kinda ridiculous!!!  And there’s so many it’s hard to say who would be our favs!!  Everyone is so different and different strengths…they’re all just so inspirational!  But if you insist…here are a few we love:

Kelly Moore
Wildflowers Photography
Justin & Mary
Gray Photography
Caroline Tran
Elizabeth Messina
Amelia Lyon
Sarah Q

Favorite blogs / websites?

We wish we had more time to sit and peruse through all the beautiful blog and sites, but when we aren’t working on images or shooting, we’re spending time with our kids and family!

Here are just a few that we have on our reader:

Style Me Pretty
Green Wedding Shoes
Wedding Chicks
Grey Likes
Southern Weddings
Completely Unveiled
100 Layer Cake

Décor 8
Hostess with the Mostess
Buried with Children

….And of course we love peeking at Gypsy Diaries….takes us back to our European days!!

we’re kinda also falling in love with the whole Pintrest Site…which we’re totally new to!!

European days? :)

Genya lived in England prior to moving to FL (her husband at the time was stationed there) and I lived in Düsseldorf, Germany and Paris when I was younger!! I miss it so so much!!! I still have tons of friends I went to school with that live all over Europe and keep in touch! I'm trying to convince my husband we need to take a trip!!

What inspires you?

The hunger for happiness!

If you could shoot anyone in the world who would it be? 

We always joke that one day we’ll shoot the wedding of someone  who has been on The Bachelor/The Bachelorette.  Yes…sad, but true…we’re total Bachelor/Bachelorette junkies!!!  In the meantime…we’ll just tweet them!

What are Vue´s plans for the future?

For right now, Atlanta is part of out future plans…which we’re SO excited about!!!  Every year, we always say, “this year shouldn’t be too crazy!”  and every year is always crazy!!  But crazy is a crazy good way!!!  When we look at how far we’ve come, we’re truly blown away!!  We’ve been so beyond blessed!!  Aside from our big move….who knows what else the future holds! A goal however… Having both lived overseas, we would love to have the chance to shoot a wedding abroad!  Know anyone who might be interested?!?!

We’re always wanting to make sure that we’re challenging our selves to grow, to step out of our comfort zones…and to be real and true to who we are!

What advice would you give to someone looking to break into the photography business?

Curiosity is good! Follow the little (or large gregarious) voice in your head that whispers (or shouts) "Is it possible?” or “how can I create that?" Curiosity might have killed that kitty but it makes photographers grow and learn!!! And, to always be true to who you are! When you're true to your heart, you can't go wrong, even when things don't end up the way you planned or expected! It's something we remind ourselves of daily! Just a little something we got from our Mommas (as well as 'junk in the trunk'!).

Any advice for fashion bloggers taking their own pictures?

We've been working with a PR company (Be Inspired Public Relations...who totally ROCKS!) who told us about our own blog, to make sure that the images you're putting on your blog are your strongest out of the bunch...you don't need to have tons and tons of images!  Simple and selective is key!  You want to make sure that the images your posting are also images that are going to attract the types of viewers and clients you're wishing to attract...but also staying true to who you are!

Genya, Wesleyann, keep creating your magic, you are true inspirations and role models to me! I love you girls! Thank you so much for taking the time for this interview, it means more than you'd know! YOU ARE AWESOME! :)

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Diana Mieczan said...

Genya and Wesleyann make a great team and I really enjoyed reading this interview. Its always fun to read about people behind the amazing photos. Have a lovely evening

Ps: I’m hosting a beautiful skirt GIVEAWAY today! Perfect for summer picnics!


So smart!.. all this real life art.
Very well done.

Gorgeous Glam said...

Awesome interview and amazing pics! xo

Tsuki aka LittleGrayFox said...

i LOVE this interview! they really seem like they have a lot of fun! And the pictures are so gorgeous!

Teodora said...

Amazing images. I wish they are closer to me!


Pure Images said...

Fantastic interview!! As an aspiring photographer, you asked the questions I've been dying to know! The VUE chicks are at the tippy-top of my list of favorite wedding photographers (as well as just fun girls to admire : ) Thanks for your blog & keep up the good work!
Jen - Pure Images Studio

Bad Joan said...

Fantastic interview! Their images are amazing. Thanks for sharing!


Neris said...

Greta interview! It was very interesting to read it :)

Fashion Fractions

Kristina said...

Really enjoyed this interview! Looking forward to the next post of this new series!! Well done!

Mikimoto Angel said...

Those pictures are fantastic. They're so good! :-)

Much love from Mystic Nymph

Catherine Fishback said...

I am LOVING this new feature!!! Thank you. :)

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