Behind the Lens: Carolyn Scott Photography
Welcome to the first feature in our Behind the Lens series! I have great admiration & respect for photographers — hardworking unsung heroes of every successful event — and, as a wedding blogger, I enjoy being able to show off their work on this site constantly. I also have them to thank for my fresh content so for the next few months I will be dedicating a post every now and then to some very talented wedding photographers whom I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with. I want you to meet them not as “vendors” but as potential friends who just so happen to have the skills to creatively chronicle your special day in pictures. 🙂
Carolyn, photographed by Chelsea Patricia from Atlanta, GA
Meet Photographer Carolyn Scott
First up is this very pretty lady whose name may sound familiar to you longtime readers. Raleigh NC & Pittsburgh PA photographer Carolyn Scott‘s work first entered my radar when she sent me photos of Morgan & Jim’s Non-trad Wedding. The wedding was refreshingly different in itself and I loved how Carolyn was able to capture the quirky as well as the sweet romantic moments in vibrant colored perfection! Since then she has brought us such fun, eclectic & unique celebrations that truly embody this blog’s philosophy. And if her eye-catching photos aren’t proof enough, it’ll interest you to know that she was recently awarded “Best Photographer” in Raleigh Downtown Magazine’s 2012 Best of Downtowner Awards, plus she currently already has two Fearless Awards to her name!
Be sure to read through her interview to get to know the talent behind the lens. As a bonus, you’ll even get to take home some inspiring insights that you can apply to your own wedding or photography business!
* All photos on this page are copyright Carolyn Scott Photography (except where indicated)*
Hi Carolyn! Please tell us more about Carolyn Scott Photography:
I started Carolyn Scott Photography LLC in 2008 and am in my third full-time year working as a photographer. I work out of my home office… which is basically just a room in our rented townhouse. 🙂 We are in the process of buying a house where I’d have a much larger office that I plan on meeting my clients in which I’m very excited about! I photographed my first wedding in early 2009 and haven’t looked back, with my husband Geoff starting to second shoot weddings with me in mid-2010. I photograph weddings, pet portraits, and engagement portraits. I occasionally do family portraits, but I don’t photograph babies or maternity because, quite honestly, babies make me a little nervous… and my energy level is such that I’m much better with two year olds than two month olds. 🙂
What’s your photographic style?
It’s really hard to define exactly what my photographic style is because it’s difficult to see my work objectively with a fresh set of eyes. However, what I do notice is that I feel like it’s bright and happy. I do what my clients want, where they want, and how they want, but I put my own spin on it so that we all end up happy. I shoot for my clients as well as myself at the same time in order to bring out both their personality and location choice as well as my personal shooting preferences. I try to find clients who are a lot like Geoff and myself and who want to do kind of weird yet sweet things and are positive yet sarcastic all at the same time. We occasionally will turn people away if we feel like they want something we don’t provide or are a type of person we wouldn’t jive with, but honestly we don’t get a lot of that as our photos seem to have a kind of polarizing effect and you like them or you don’t. 🙂
The quirkiest wedding you’ve ever photographed?
Melanie and Eric’s commitment ceremony! The best ever. Held on a farm, it was equipped with a hand-crafted unity volcano (yes, like the kind you did in middle school), a purple wedding dress, casual groom clothes, wildflowers, and a trivia game in lieu of any dancing. They also had every conceivable type of dessert present and took their pictures with skulls and bugs. Our type of people. There were lots of board games, card games, and corn hole. I genuinely think that if Geoff and I had to choose a way to spend our Saturday night that year, we still would’ve chosen to be there with them.
The most unusual or unexpected location you’ve shot a wedding at?
People tend to be pretty traditional in the south about choosing wedding locations. I think magazines and blogs and the such are having people slowly thinking more outside the box with more art museum and farm/backyard weddings, but we still don’t see it as much as we’d like in Raleigh or in Pittsburgh. However, I’d say the most unusual location coupled with the best result was Morgan and Jim’s VFW wedding in Springdale, PA. Most people give VFW weddings in your hometown a bad rap, but not if your hometown is a fantastic place for pictures. A lot of folks, when they think of good places for pictures, choose a garden or somewhere very new and shiny. To me, though, those are the most boring places to shoot. 🙂 I love old buildings, peeling paint, and a lot of weird, quirky stuff that usually brides aren’t cool having their picture with. 😉 Springdale, PA is pretty much that, except Morgan and Jim are totally awesome and wanted the weirdness incorporated into their pictures. We took a lot of pictures in alleys with Steelers signs and hand-painted wooden Santa Clauses. A local bar owner saw us and called us in for free drinks. We got amazing results and it’s one of my favorite weddings ever.
A wedding photography fad you will never follow?
Ahhhh, Photoshop actions. Hate ’em. Particularly the ones that make everything look faded and “vintage”. I enjoy the look of photographing vintage-detailed weddings, but I dislike the look of making the actual pictures look vintage. You don’t want that. That will be outdated in approximately 5 years and you’ll wind up with a ton of people who wish they could remember the accurate color of their bridesmaids’ dresses instead of having it be a washed out pale pink. Remember when there were a lot of pictures with the bouquet in black and white with the single red rose? Yeah, that was so in a few years ago and now it’s a disaster. Think of that when you pick your wedding photographer and try to go the route where things look the most accurate.
Geoff & Carolyn at their wedding, photographed by David E. Jackson from Wisconsin
What was your own wedding like?
We had a Halloween themed wedding! That was the best part. We love, love, love Halloween. Plus, themeing it made it easier to pick out decorations because we were more limited in our choices. Our colors were black, white, and apple green, and we had a Better Homes and Gardens Halloween magazine that inspired most of our decor. We chose a lot of vintage glassware from Goodwill, and filled it with hand-painted skulls, moss, and spiders. There were fuzzy hanging bats, black chandeliers, pumpkins carved with table numbers, etc.
We were marred at Artspace in Raleigh, an art museum where local artists take up residency in certain rooms to sell and display their art. It’s a good mix of a modern and vintage building at the same time. We were married in the lobby on the stairs and had our reception upstairs in one of the larger galleries. Although we really loved our wedding, we were both really nervous and pretty uncomfortable being the center of attention. There’d be a few things that we’d do differently if we had to do it over again… mostly keeping it smaller (we had about 95 people) and probably saving my parents the money w/ the dress and the details and doing it in a backyard somewhere with the opportunity for more naturally lit pictures. If I could get away with it, it’d basically be a late Halloween luncheon with a really good photographer, haha.
Barring budget, logic or reality, what would your dream wedding (to shoot) be like?
I really love small, intimate weddings in really beautiful places. Your surroundings and your location influence your pictures to such a great extent, and unfortunately that’s not thought of a lot by planning couples. Ideally, I’d love to shoot a very small, perhaps 20 person wedding in a field at the base of a mountain somewhere with a lot of adorable details that were very personal to the bride and the family… and have the bride in a very simple dress who wasn’t afraid to lay down or do whatever in her pictures, and a groom in some khakis and a shirt. We’d have all the time in the world to take the pictures in this beautiful spot, and there wouldn’t be a lot of pressure. It’d be a small, casual celebration and really low key and low stress, but in an awesome location. I tend to really like mountains, but really anywhere would do. I’ve seen some ridiculously gorgeous pictures with icebergs all around… that would be cool too. 😉
A book, movie or tv show you’d love to base a styled shoot on?
Genuinely anything zombie or monster related. Yes, I know the zombie engagement shoot has been done, but I don’t care. I like zombies. I like monsters. I like weird, funny stuff. I like laughing and enjoying my shoots and not taking myself or my clients too seriously, so anything that would allow us to do ridiculous things and laugh would be fine with me. Book wise – The Night Circus would make for a lovely styled engagement shoot if you did it in all black and white and did it correctly.
A celebrity couple’s wedding you’d like to photograph if you could?
Geoff and I really love Coheed and Cambria, and although they’re not really well known “celebrities” per say, the lead singer (Claudio Sanchez) and his gorgeous wife (Chonny Echert Sanchez) were married a few years ago and I’m sure their wedding would’ve been totally sweet to photograph. I’m pretty sure I could’ve convinced them to do the zombie engagement session.
Quick, name 5 favorite songs off the top of your head!
Ohhh man I’m no good at naming songs under pressure! Umm, Prince – Let’s Go Crazy, Get Up Kids – Campfire Kansas, Fleetwood Mac – Monday Morning, Bruce Peninsula – Pull Me Under, Weakerthans – Left and Leaving
If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be?
I was a teacher… I taught first and second grade, but clearly I didn’t want to be that anymore. If I could be anything and wasn’t a photographer and my horrible scientific skills weren’t an issue, I’d like to work with animals in some wild-type capacity (not a veterinarian… too sad). A zoologist maybe or a marine biologist. One of those people that gets the opportunity to go into the rainforest and study animals for a long time.
I hope you all enjoyed reading about Carolyn. The beautiful images on this page are just a taste of what she can offer! If you want more info on this fab photographer, please visit the following pages:
* See all our previously featured weddings & e-sessions by Carolyn Scott Photography
* Meet other featured photographers in our Behind the Lens interview series
* While you’re at it, do check out the site map to browse our real wedding/engagement/styled shoot features by photographer and by location.