Behind the Lens: Caitlin Hazelton of Hazelton Photography
Welcome to another Behind the Lens post where I interview a talented wedding photographer whom I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with. Every photographer has their own distinct style so the purpose of this series is to help you choose a photographer whose style best represents you. Thus 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.
Photo by VavoomPinups
Meet Caitlin Hazelton of Hazelton Photo
Nope that’s not a movie star though she definitely looks like she could be one! The lovely Caitlin Hazelton of Illinois-based Hazelton Photography is certainly no stranger to this blog. In fact, I’ve showcased her work in one of my early and most viewed blog posts to date, the Dia de los Muertos styled shoot, before I even regularly started featuring real weddings. Since then I have featured a couple of unique celebrations that she wonderfully captured — Katie & Michael’s Artistic Vintage Meets Modern Farm Wedding and Alison & Adam’s Dynamic Duo-Comic Book-Superhero Wedding.
Caitlin has been a pro photographer for almost a decade. She studied photography and lighting at Columbia College Chicago and received her degree in 2003. What I love about Caitlin’s work is that, armed with the gifted eye of a true artist, she knows how to artfully portray emotion. As someone who’s experienced the happiness of a marriage firsthand, she photographs both romantic and quirky moments and frames them artistically. She also knows to properly evoke nostalgia, but only when it’s called for — never overdoing the vintage effect on any and every photograph just for the sake of being one with the trend which I’m sure takes a lot of discipline to do. You will see what I mean in a moment.
So enough chit chat from me, it’s time to introduce you to the beautiful work of Hazelton Photography! Please enjoy the interview. I love her candid answers and I know you will as well.
* All photos on this page are copyright Hazelton Photography except where indicated *
(This couple’s full wedding is here)
Hello Caitlin! Please tell us more about yourself and your wedding photography business.
My business started in 2005, and is based in the small Chicago suburb of Geneva, IL. Think “Truman Show”. Everytime I’m at the studio, I swear the same fire truck comes down the road, sirens wailing. Same time. Every day… I also grew up in Geneva, but I’m a real person, not an actor – I swear! I have actually been a photographer since 2000, though, and studied photography at Columbia College Chicago. It was a great experience and I wouldn’t trade my college education for anything!
Weddings have been my forte since 2005, when I photographed my first one. I fell in love with it immediately. Shortly after, I had my own wedding and knew that was what I wanted to do as my life’s work. I have seen such changes in the amount of creativity and art that goes into weddings since that time, its just made me love it more and more each year.
My first love was portraiture, and it still holds a special place in my heart. Children and families are delightful, and I am an extremely patient person, so kids and patience go hand in hand. I love to capture personalities so portraits will always be in my life.
My style is basically to be creative, and not force poses – if it doesn’t fit with a couple’s personality, then I don’t even attempt it. I capture a lot of the moments, the details, and then try to collaborate with couples to create cool portraits for a small portion of the day. In order to make this happen, I actually talk to my clients and get to know them a bit prior to the big day. Same goes for portraits – I don’t like to go into a shoot “blind”.
(This couple’s full wedding is here)
The quirkiest wedding you’ve photographed?
I’m not sure if I could pick. Since I know what the next question is I guess I will go with my comic book wedding that was featured on your blog! They had a lot of fun comic/art details, including a gigantic Where’s Waldo? poster of all the wedding guests and bridal party made by the groom himself! And it was the first and only wedding bridal party (so far) that let me dress them up as super heroes for a photo!
The most unusual or unexpected location you’ve shot a wedding at?
One of the most unusual places I had a wedding was last May — the bride’s Grandparent’s farm in Princeton, IL. That doesn’t sound unusual, until I tell you that the Grandpa had put together a giant museum of antiques and antique farm equipment! The different fun included the horse and buggy area, the axes and saws wall, the steam engine tractor, antique gas pumps, the victorian style house, etc. It was straight out of that show “American Pickers” which is one of my favorite shows. So I was in Heaven, I must say.
A wedding photography fad you will never follow?
Hmm, there are a few of them I refuse to follow. Not because I hate them or don’t want to be like everyone else, its just that I prefer images to be more timeless, if I can make them that way. The tilt shift lens fad, the not-so-pretty moments (bride putting on deodorant for example), props for prop sake, fashion/styled shoots where NO ONE is smiling (aren’t you supposed to be happy for at least one minute on your wedding day, even if its fake?)… I could go on but I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.
Can you tell us what your own wedding was like?
My wedding was small and intimate, and I spent as much as my budget would allow (not much, heh heh)! I did always dream since I was little of having my ceremony at my Aunt’s house in St. Louis, in her backyard, so that’s where the ceremony took place. St. Louis is where my family is from, and we go back to visit there at least once a year if not more, and have been doing so for the past 30 or so years! So its like my 2nd home. And my Aunt’s house is a beautiful brick house in the Clayton area, with her amazing gardening skills decorate the backyard. Our reception was nearby, and we spent the most on photography and a DJ because we wanted the party to ROCK and didn’t mind the details (something I would redo now that I have a couple hundred weddings I’ve seen — I may do that someday, a vow renewal or something…but I digress…)
Above and below photos show Caitlin on her wedding day, photographed by Under Grace Photography (whose work has already been featured here too)
Barring budget, logic or reality, what would your dream wedding (to shoot) be like?
This is SO hard to answer, because I think I have a few dream weddings in my head that I would love to photograph. I’ve always wanted to go to Ireland and England, so maybe something in the countryside in one of those countries, that had plenty of trees, a vineyard, a gigantic old house, green green grass, a beautiful garden, rolling hills, Stone Henge, etc….
A book, movie or tv show you’d love to base a styled shoot on?
Well, related to my previous answer, my 2nd favorite movie is Howards’ End, which is based near the turn of the century (20th century) in the English countryside. Also maybe Marie Antoinette, the movie, I would go back to Versailles and do a photo shoot that was completely over the top – that would be amazing.
Realistically though? I guess flying to Europe for a styled shoot probably won’t be happening anytime soon. So around here, I would love to do a shoot based on my ALL TIME favorite movie – Labyrinth. Our first dance song at our wedding was the “love” song in the movie by David Bowie (when they are in the bubble at the ball – “As The World Falls Down”). That’s how much I love that movie. No one steal that from me!!! I have a location in mind too that has a hedge maze.
I also would love to do a styled shoot based on “Back To The Future”. Is this too many answers?
LOL you are too funny Caitlin. BTW that was my favorite scene in Labyrinth too!
Which celebrity couple’s wedding do you think would be a blast to photograph if you could (doesn’t matter if they’re already married or not!)
Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer’s wedding looked like it was a blast to photograph — they actually had 2, one was a “flash mob” style wedding in a park and the other was slightly more traditional. I just would love to hang out with them and photograph a wedding all in black and white film, which I feel they would let me do.
I totally think they would! A prequel to Sandman is in the works, did you hear?
Quick, name 5 favorite songs off the top of your head!
“As The World Falls Down” – David Bowie (sorry it’s in my head), “Starman” by David Bowie, “America” by Simon and Garfunkel, “Genius of Love” by Tom Tom Club, “Forever Young” by Alphaville
If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be?
I think I would be a genealogist, or an art/photography teacher. Both of those things still may happen in my lifetime. I love family history, and have researched my own and several other peoples. Its so addicting and FUN! Also, I LOVE teaching people. I have been teaching photography through my studio recently and its so rewarding to see someone learning about something I love!
I hope you all enjoyed meeting Caitlin Hazelton. The dreamy images on this page are just a taste of what she can offer! If you want more info on this talented photographer, please visit the following pages:
* See all our previously featured weddings & shoots by Hazelton 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.